A family of good samaritans have taken in a couple who looked destined to be homeless over Christmas.
Jan and Jessica Kuppers, from Germany, have been living in a tent in woods in Chichester for nearly five months.
Jan, 29, has a brain tumour and Jessica, 23, is three-and-a-half months pregnant.
They have been sleeping rough along with their two dogs since arriving in England nearly nine months ago.
After reading about their tragic circumstances on the Observer’s website on Christmas Eve, Mark, from North Bersted said he felt compelled to help.
“I read the story and it was so tragic, it was more of a horror story really, I could hardly believe it,” said Mark, 34.
“Reading it on Christmas Eve I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing.
“We have an empty caravan at my parent’s house which is warm and has electricity so we picked them up on Boxing Day and have moved them in.”
The couple received a number of offers of help following the Observer’s online story on Thursday, December 24.
People took warm clothes and blankets to them, while one man called Tony arrived with a turkey, chocolates and drinks.
The couple, from Frankfurt, say they came to England planning to continue their online business having thought they had paid a year’s rent on accommodation in Chingford.
But they say after being scammed out of their £11,000 savings, they found themselves on the streets in London.
Jan says they were arrested and spent four nights in police custody before a magistrate threw out a charge of failure to pay a hotel bill.
And after sleeping in the toilet of a caravan park and not eating for several days, they decided to head south to Chichester, where they have been living in a £9 tent from Morrisons close to the A27.
“What people have done for us is very nice,” Jan said.
“We did not think people would respond to us so soon, but the feedback was very fast.”
Jan says they were forced to flee their own country because of a threatening family situation in Germany, where they had a home and jobs.
“Because of this we have really seen the other side of life. You wake up at night thinking ‘what will we eat today, are we safe, do we have dry clothes?’
“It is a survival mode which makes us eat food off the streets and from bins. I have a bad illness but I try to focus on my wife because she is pregnant.”
Jan says he has a Stage 5 brain tumour and may not be alive to see the birth of their first child.
The couple will now at least be able to celebrate their first wedding anniversary on January 11 in a warm caravan thanks to the generosity of Mark and his family.
“You watch what’s going on in Syria, and the terrible flooding up north and feel helpless, but Jan and Jessica’s situation was right on our doorsteps,” said Mark, an operations manager for DCI Refrigeration.
“We don’t have lots, we’re far from rich but we were in a position where we could help them.”
Mark said he was trying to help Jan find work in computing, adding that they weren’t looking for handouts.
The couple have a meeting with the UK Home Office in January and hope they will be granted permission to stay.
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