With three grown children, Endeavour Foundation Prize Home winners, Gillian and Mark, thought the chance of owning their own home was well and truly behind them.
“We’ve never owned our own home before. We’ve never had a dishwasher before. We’ve never had a pool before. We’ve never had an ensuite before. There’s a lot of firsts in this house!” Gillian laughed.
‘This house’ that Gillian now calls home is a luxurious contemporary oasis perched high on the hill at Little Mountain in Caloundra, at the southern end of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
“We’ve never been able to afford to buy our own home. Back when we were first married, I fell pregnant with twins straight off the bat. And then eighteen months later we had another one. So, there was never an opportunity for us to get that deposit together,” she said.
As it turns out, Gillian and Mark didn’t end up needing that deposit after all and are now living in their very own $2.2 million property, mortgage free.
“We moved in the day we got the keys… we were very excited,” Gillian laughed.
“We have always said, if we won one, we wouldn’t be in it to just sell it.
“We brought up three kids and four grandchildren in a three-bedroom house with one bathroom and one toilet, so to have a house this size is special – we love it.”
Mark and Gillian’s adult children and families all still live on the Sunshine Coast which means Mum and Dad’s new place is the new family hang out.
“It used to be my son’s place but now it’s ours because we’ve got more space,” Gillian laughed.
“We had all the family around last Sunday and we just opened the back doors, and the kids were in the pool – it was just so nice and really relaxing.”
Gillian and Mark are so delighted with their new address that they plan to call it home for at least the foreseeable future.
“So many things go around your head when you first find out that you’ve won a home… we could do this, we could do that… maybe it’s a bit big for us so should we sell it and get something a bit smaller? But over the weeks of actually living here, Mark absolutely loves this place and I do too, so I think it would be hard to move on from here for a while,” Gillian said.
“We really want to make the most of it while we are young enough to enjoy it.”
For more than a decade, visiting Endeavour Foundation Prize Homes has been a tradition for the couple.
“We go out for a Sunday drive when there’s an Endeavour Prize Home and we make an afternoon of it. For as long as I can remember we’ve always gone along and had a look at the houses and we buy tickets in all of them,” Gillian said.
Although, for this home, Gillian’s husband just couldn’t wait and jumped the gun.
“Mark went and saw it without me which was very naughty because he normally takes me with him,” Gillian laughed.
“He took me out to see it the Sunday before it closed, and we bought more tickets, but the winning ticket was actually bought when Mark made the first visit.”
Gillian has seen firsthand how Endeavour Foundation’s services and programs can help people with a disability to imagine what’s possible.
“Mark and I used to play indoor cricket at Maroochydore and there was an Endeavour Foundation Business Solutions site across the road from the cricket centre.
“I used to work at the cricket centre and Endeavour Foundation had a team that played indoor cricket.
“They were mostly young adults, and I had a lot to do with them and helped teach them to play cricket.
“We saw how the training that they were doing with Endeavour Foundation helped them gain skills and go out and live on their own lives and be independent,” she said.
“And then I recall one time when they had a bowling tournament coming up and they had organised all their trophies for it… but then someone broke into the trophy shop and broke all of the trophies!”
“To help out, I donated a lot of our old indoor cricket trophies so that they had something to hand out at the tournament.
“And it was after that we first started to support Endeavour Foundation.”
Fast forward a few decades and Gillian and Mark are still supporting Endeavour Foundation in more ways than one.
As proud and very grateful winners, they are still buying tickets and very happy to tell their story to anyone they meet in the hope that it might encourage more people to buy tickets in Endeavour Foundation Prize Home Lotteries.
“I say to them, “Well, now you know someone that has won one, so get in there and buy a ticket!”” Gillian laughed.
It’s all for a good cause and as Gillian says, winning is “just the icing on the cake.”