Covid-19 survivors to raffle Mayo cottage for healthcare workers

Canada-based couple say all money raised will go to ‘courageous’ support workers

The 150-year-old cottage is  on the Mayo side of the Ox Mountains and has had offers up to €90,000.

The 150-year-old cottage is on the Mayo side of the Ox Mountains and has had offers up to €90,000.


An Irish couple who survived Covid-19 are raffling their Mayo holiday cottage to raise funds for healthcare workers during the coronavirus crisis. In a week, the Canada-based couple have already raised €50,000 through the online sale of 5,000 tickets at €10 each for an idyllic three-bed cottage near Foxford, Co Mayo.

Originally from Ireland, the retired businessman and former doctor own several homes worldwide and have said they want to remain anonymous. They contracted Covid-19 in early March when travelling from Mexico to Canada and believe they were lucky to survive the illness. As the healthcare crisis unfolded in Europe they decided they wanted to do something to help.

After hearing about the HSE’s Be on Call for Ireland recruitment initiative seeking medical workers to return to Ireland the retired doctor applied. However, on realising she would not be immediately eligible to help she withdrew the application and they decided instead to help the effort by putting their Foxford holiday home up for raffle with the intention of helping healthcare workers.

The couple have said they will take no money from the process and are hopeful the raffle will raise €100,000 by the time it takes place on August 28th. All of the funds raised will go towards those who were not professionals at the front line of the crisis such as doctors and nurses, but who still took the same risks, such as cleaners, porters and kitchen staff.

“Having worked in hospitals all my working life, I always thought the support staff should get more. These were the people who kept the hospital ticking over. Having seen what the virus was like with my husband, who is very lucky to be alive, I can only marvel at their strength and conviction. I admire them so much, turning in everyday, knowing the risks they were taking for themselves and their families,” said the doctor.

‘Beautiful, peaceful place’

The 150-year old cottage, on the Mayo side of the Ox Mountains, had been on the market through CK Auctioneers in Mayo and had offers in up to € 90,000. A much-loved holiday home for many years, the couple did a lot of work on its upgrade in 2015-2016 when they added storage heating and a solid fuel stove. The lucky winner will also receive turf rights to cut their own in the nearby bog.

“It is a beautiful, peaceful place and once you go there, it is hard to leave.”

The funds will be administered by a Dublin-based accountant and while they are still figuring out how the money raised will be dispensed it is likely they will work with trade unions across a number of hospitals.

The couple have said they will not be making any money out of the raffle.

“It’s a gesture – we want to say thank you to all those people who have not been fully recognised up to now.”

The draw takes place on Friday, August 28th. Buy a €10 ticket here

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