Couple’s desperate plea to find new Birchington home after fire forces move to static caravan

John and Julie are staying in a static caravan but are desperate to find a new home

A couple who became homeless after a fire at a neighbouring flat in Birchington are desperately appealing for help to find a new place to live.

John and Julie Tickner are currently living in a static home on the outskirts of Canterbury but say it is impossible to heat and they are desperate to return to the village.

Last June six fire engines and the height vehicle attended the flat blaze within a three-storey building in Ethelbert Road.

The fire affected properties on the second and third floors and the KFRS Volunteer Response Team and Red Cross were needed to offer residents help.

Flats fire in Birchington Photo Bob Hudson

Self-employed electrician John and health care worker Julie lost the majority of their belongings, mostly due to smoke damage, and were unable to return to the home that they had spent the last 11 years making their own.

Initially they stayed at a friends property but this was only a temporary measure. Then came the blow that after repairs and decoration the flat they had lived in was due to be put on the buyers’  market.

John said: “We are in a static home and although we are grateful, it is in the middle of nowhere. The electric is costing us so much on a meter that we can’t afford to have the heating on.

“We have lost everything and none of it was our own fault as it was a fire in a neighbour’s. After 11 years our landlord is selling, we have been given a Section 21, and no-one wants to take responsibility and help us.

“We just want to go back to Birchington but can’t find anywhere. Places that are available won’t take the cat but my wife can’t have children and the cat is her baby.

“We feel like we are on our own and just don’t know what to do. Our health is going downhill and I feel like I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. My wife is a health support worker looking after people who come out of hospital but no-one seems to care that she needs help too.”

The couple say they are ‘in the middle of nowhere’

John says the neighbours and Red Cross who helped at the time of the incident were brilliant, providing blankets and tea while they were stood in the cold for some eight hours. But since then the pair have been at a loss to get help.

Julie says she is trying to complete studies as part of her job but is so cold she cannot concentrate.

In tears, she said: “It is like being victimised for something that isn’t your fault. I am so cold all the time but scared to put the heating on as it costs so much. We just want somewhere to live so we can carry on with our lives.”

The pair are appealing for help to find a one or two bed property in the village or nearby on a long term let.

Email [email protected] if you can help.


    • Martha, why do you never read the article fully?

      It clearly states that the poor woman can’t have children, so the cat is like her baby and have no intention to re-home the cat, and I fully sympathize with her.

  1. It’s a cat – not a baby.

    If keeping the cat makes finding a flat difficult then you have made your own choice – live with it.

      • Unfortunately, what John rather bluntly says is true. If you put severe conditions on what you want, then you limit the opportunities available. For example, if the search were widened from Birchington to Thanet, then more options might be forthcoming.
        When we moved, we made a list of features in descending order. For example, maximum price, minimum bedrooms … near railway station.
        Some things conditions absolutely had to be met; others were desirable; and last were things that would be a bonus.
        But if my first two conditions were max price £75,000 and min bedrooms 4, it wasn’t going to happen.

  2. where has compassion gone in Thanet? Through no fault of their own this couple has been made homeless and Canterbury for goodness sake they have no children and I expect their friends live in Birchington who wouldn’t want to stay close to who and what they know? I know some people have no love for pets but with every thing that is going on today try to show some empathy, for none of us know what might happen tomorrow
    can’t you show some empathy for these poor people?and if some of you had ever owned a pet you would know what it is to have lost one or have had to give it up it is not easy and yes some people do treat them as if they are their babies it shows love for something other than ones self.There but for the grace of God go I

    • There’s a disconnect between empathy for this lady’s fondness for her pet and the need for the couple to find a suitable home.
      Sometimes, as Phyllis says, we have to make tough decisions in life. The options presented to us sometimes don’t tick all the boxes, so maybe we have to go with the option that ticks most of them.

      • what a lot of people do not seem or want to understand is that many pets become family members and this cat is part of this couples family this lady loves her cat and wants to keep it with her and as I have mentioned before on a previous page for me it is animals over many people any day of the week they do not name call, you they do not make stupid comments they do not do not judge you because you are disabled, they bring happiness and they give you unconditional love something a lot of people could learn from

  3. I have had several cats (one at a time) and they all either died or went missing, but I was never upset for more than a couple of days. I have never felt anything for one of my cat that was comparable to what I feel for members of my family.

    Of course I,like others here,feel sorry for someone who wants children but cannot have them.

  4. I do not “rear my head”, I make a comment, and I do not understand why Lesley Peeling is being so rude towards me.

    • Martha,

      None is rude to you but you can expect hard worded replies like that because you never read articles fully, you don’t like it when people question you and you always try to ram your own extreme opinions down people’s throat.

      Anyway, hopefully this lady has now found a place to live.

      • I hope this lady (and her husband and her cat) have found somewhere suitable. I hope the other households displaced by last June’s fire are accommodated, too.
        Sometimes, needs must when the devil drives, and you just have to cut your suit according to your cloth, as it were.

      • I didn’t think Lesley Peeling’s posts here were rude, except for describing one of mine as “rearing my head”. And her relative politeness on this thread is a nice surprise, as on previous comment threads she has been very rude, coarsely so.

        • whenever I post a comment you do rear your ugly head to either contradict me or make some stupid remark.I have said before and it obviously has not sunk in what you are doing is harassment and if you keep on Marva I will put a stop to you doing this do you understand?

          • It’s perfectly all right to contradict an opinion one does not agree with. However, it ‘s better not to call people’s remarks stupid.

  5. I always read through the article.

    I don’t know if my opinions are extreme or not. They just seem like common sense to me. I do not have a sentimental or anthropomorphic attitude towards animals and to reduce your chance of finding somewhere comfortable and convenient to live because you have a cat seems very irrational.

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