Home from home

The welcome guests photographed with Maurice outside his restaurant, Simply Italian

As news editor, my role is to make sure Rye News has a regular and balanced selection of articles covering topics which matter and are important to our readers. Our team of correspondents work hard to keep you informed about what is happening in your community and recently we have recruited some new team members who bring with them new ideas, new initiatives and new articles for you to enjoy.

One of our latest recruits is Caroline Everett whose husband, William, has written the following article which I was delighted to be asked to publish on his behalf. It’s a heart- warming story and a fantastic example of how our wider community has pulled together to make a life-changing difference to a Ukrainian family in a desperate situation.

In his own words, William writes:

Ukrainian Refugees

“We have a modest house in Rye that we rent out. Our tenant left in March. We contacted the Refugease Charity to see if they could help us start the process to get a Ukrainian family to the house. The charity were brilliant and their chap in Budapest contacted us on April 2 to say he had a family comprising of a mother with two small children and her sister, who had escaped from East Ukraine by train, and had arrived virtually penniless but with their suitcases and with passports. They speak Ukrainian and Russian only.

Fantastic news

“The house had always been rented out unfurnished but for our Ukrainians we had to have it habitable. Our family and friends pulled together and were amazing. With this help and with the help of the Hospice in the Weald in Tenterden, we were able to furnish the house from top to bottom. We started the sponsorship process and our government found the family accommodation in Budapest while the visas got sorted. We all struggled with the process. After three weeks, the family still had no visas so our government chucked them out into the street.

“Luckily, our Refugease contact in Budapest is Irish. He scooped them up and got them to Ireland to stay with friends there while the family and we persevered with our bureaucracy. The Irish were brilliant and eventually they got all their visas. The family got the boat across to England and the train to Euston where I picked them all up with their suitcases, crammed them all into my car and got them to our house in Rye on the 12 June.

“Colonel Kimber in Rye has been the most brilliant strategic campaigner helping us to get through the different levels of bureaucracy. Maurice at Simply Italian here in Rye has got them working in his kitchen; one of them is pizza chef and it turns out that their work in Ukraine had been in that line.

“Dezi’s charity at Rye Deli raised £375 in cash for the family which left them amazed. They love Rye and are settling in happily. We are still hard at it with the bureaucrats and the family is learning a bit of English.”

Image Credits: Col Everett .


  1. Nice piece by William about one of the Ukrainian families in Rye and District. There are fourteen familiy units in the area and despite the challenges of administering new arrivals, many are settling into the community. I should underscore the generosity of both hosts and immediate supporters, who are making the scheme work for guests. Despite language issues, some local businesses, like Simply Italian, are offering employment, which not only provides occupation but allows a degree of independence.

    Anthony Kimber PhD
    Rye Hub – Homes for Ukraine

  2. Kindness is a virtue. How wonderful that Anthony Kimber has set up Homes for Ukraine and the owners of a house were prepared to make it available and inhabitable. And jobs as well. Fantastic.


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