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 jtickner69@yahoo.co.uk if you can help.