Castle owner says raffle was not unfair

Orchardton Castle, Galloway
Orchardton Castle, Galloway

The owner of a Kirkcudbrightshire castle was defiant this week in the face of criticism for offering her £2m home as a raffle prize but then giving the winner a £65,000 cash prize instead.

Orchardston Castle owner Susan DeVere has rejected a rap from the Advertising Standards Authority for the way she conducted the novel competition after the imposing mansion at Auchincairn failed to find a buyer when she offered it for sale last year.

She insists that she gave fair warning to all who bought £5 tickets for the draw that, should the raffle not raise enough money, a cash prize would be substituted for the castle.

It is understood that ticket sales only raised £107,000, nowhere near Mrs DeVere’s target of paying off the 1880s building’s mortgage.

Instead, she used the cash to pay out a top prize of £65,000, gave smaller sums to the two runners-up, a total of £19,000 to charity and the remainder on costs incurred in running the raffle.

However, one of the entrants complained to the advertising watchdog about the cash substitution for the 17-bedroom castle.

And it subsequently judged that she had not administered the raffle fairly, criticism this week that she strongly rejected, saying she was now considering appealing against the ruling.

Commenting on the watchdog’s decision she said: “The raffle wasn’t unfair. We did absolutely everything to make it as fair and transparent as possible,

“Right from the beginning, on our website it said that if enough entries didn’t come in then it would be a cash prize.”

She added that the winner had opted for the money rather than a compromise of a share of the building she had offered.