Solve 4 across to win 3 up, 4 down: Maida Vale family to give away maisonette in £25 crossword competition

The Ross family (L to R): Cliodhna, Issy, Stuart and Ollie. Picture: Cloidhna Ross

The Ross family (L to R): Cliodhna, Issy, Stuart and Ollie. Picture: Cloidhna Ross - Credit: Cloidhna Ross

The owners of a £1.8million four-bedroom Maida Vale home are selling their maisonette in a £25 crossword competition.

Cliodhna Ross and her 50-year-old husband Stuart have made the unusual move after they looked to sell the three-up, four down flat in 2016, but struggled to find any takers.

Their six-year-old son Ollie has Down’s Syndrome, and struggles with the stairs. Their front door is on the third floor.

“As our children are getting older, so are we,” said Cliodhna.

“Ollie has to be carried down the stairs, and he can be a bit stubborn, and it can be difficult if he doesn’t want to do something.”

After unsuccessfully trying to sell their home so they could move somewhere more accessible, the couple decided to go down an unusual route.

“We spent a lot of time and effort trying to sell the flat with estate agents,” said Cliodhna, “but we were getting nowhere. We had read about house sale competitions in the press, and they are becoming more and more popular.”

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The crossword element is part of a legal requirement that there’s got to be some form of challenge to the giveaway. The 45-year-old came up with the Tube-themed clues herself.

“I had really good fun writing it. I reckon Londoners know their Tube stations really well and, even though we’ve had some really random answers already, people should be able to answer it.”

As well as completing the crossword, entrants need to also pay a £25 entry fee.

There are a maximum of 110,000 tickets up for grabs by December 31. The family needs a minimum of 85,000 tickets to be able to sell the house.

For those who don’t scoop the property, the people who get drawn out second will win £100,000, while five others will win £10,000 each.

Two charities will also benefit: the London Community Foundation, which tackles poverty and exclusion across the capital, and the KIDS charity, which provides support to disabled children, young people and their families.

If they do sell the house, it will be with a heavy heart for Cloidhna and Stuart, as well as their daughter, seven-year-old Issy.

“We have to be very careful talking about it in front of Izzy because she thinks that we will live there forever, and she really likes it,” said Cliodhna.

“It’s a fantastic home, and we’ve worked really hard to make it right. It’s wonderful and we’ll miss it – but it’s the right thing to do.”