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Buncrana family raffle their home for charity 04.12.13

A FAMILY who won a luxury five-bedroom house as prices skyrocketed in the boom are handing it back – bed-linen and all.
The McLaughlins are giving back the keys to their €165,000 home at 58 Mulberry Avenue, Buncrana to help the autism charity that first raffled it in 2006.
"It's time for us to move on. We are building a new house and that has only been made possible because of all the money we saved living mortgage-free for the past seven years," said Carleen McLaughlin (30).
Mark and Carleen McLaughlin, with children Ailbhe (5) and Oisin (3), who are giving their family home at 58 Mulberry Avenue, Buncrana, Co Donegal, to be raffled for children with autism.
"We were going to sell the house on the open market but then the light-bulb moment came and it was as clear as black and white - it could be raffled again to help Inishowen Children's Autism Related Education (iCARE).
"The thinking was, they would get the funds they desperately need and we would get the market price for the house - and the gift of no mortgage would be handed to somebody new."
The spacious fitted kitchen at 58 Mulberry Avenue.
The generous mother-of-two and husband Mark (37) run a concrete flooring business and have suffered like thousands of others in the building industry collapse. They currently employ several people and hire more when contracts demand.
They've had two healthy children Ailbhe (5) and Oisin (3) since moving into their lucky Mulberry Avenue house and say it has been a "very happy home".
“We hope the new owners are as happy as we were here. We have had really great times and we have lovely neighbours.
“We could have sold the house the day we won it for €250,000 but I’m glad we didn’t,” she added. The property, which the McLaughlin’s are leaving fully-furnished including appliances and soft furnishings, was recently valued by two local estate agents at €165,000.
One of the beautiful five bedrooms at 58 Mulberry Avenue.
But the big-hearted couple have knocked a whopping €10,000 off the price to help the charity further. They are also centrally involved in the raffle which will be drawn in June 2014. Tickets are €20 and it is hoped sales will surpass the 19,000 tickets sold last time. Second prize in the mega draw is €10,000.
Meanwhile, the McLaughlins hope to move into their new dream home by the sea at Stragill about six weeks before the winner is announced. They are conscious they might not receive their €155,000 for some time after the draw but they’ll be ready for the move.
"We've been building our new house slowly as and when we could afford it over the past four years. It is fully up but we still need to do all the interiors," added Carleen.
Angela Tourish of iCARE said the charity was delighted with the family's generosity. For more details see www.icare.ie .
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