Published: 12:00, 19 October 2017
A couple’s horror at the Grenfell Tower fire has led them to offer their holiday home to victims of the inferno.
Ian and Annabel Lichfield, who run The Jolly Holiday Rental in Whitstable, say they hope families will benefit from soaking up the peace of their tranquil two-bedroom retreat and enjoy exploring the area’s quirky shops.
“I was just horrified and in a state of disbelief about what happened at Grenfell and it was especially close to my husband Ian’s heart as he was a firefighter for 10 years,” said Annabel, 49.
“It’s too awful to imagine what happened to the residents and the tower block just looks like a graveyard now.”
The couple have joined the Grenfell Tower Holiday Appeal group on Facebook, which was set up by Angie Mays, from Ilfracombe, Devon, and her friend Kay Gilbert. Hundreds of holidays have been offered to Grenfell families all over the UK and abroad, including in Spain, France and Cyprus.
“I saw something on Facebook about a Grenfell family enjoying a day out and there was a link to the holiday appeal. I discussed letting out our holiday home with my husband and he just said ‘go for it’,” said Annabel.
The Lichfields’ holiday let is in Vicarage Gardens, while the couple themselves live in Wicketts End, off Belmont Road.
They settled in Whitstable after living and working in the Middle East, where they were both employed in sports event branding, an area in which 53-year-old Ian is still involved, while Annabel concentrates on the lettings business.
The pair say they have been inundated with support from local businesses who want to help the victims of the fire.
Staines Farm Shop in Whitstable High Street will be providing a fruit basket for guests, while the Co-op in Oxford Street is donating a breakfast pack, the Pearsons Arms in Horsebridge Road is donating a voucher for drinks and bar meals and the East Kent Hotel in Oxford Street is offering a cream tea.
Vases of flowers will be placed around the house, filled with fresh flowers from Jane at Graham Greener in Harbour Street.
Annabel said: “As soon as the businesses heard what we were doing they wanted to help. The support has been overwhelming.”
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