A couple who have been living in a car for more than a month with a cat they rescued on Christmas Day are celebrating after being given the keys to a new flat.
Tony Pigram, 50, and his girlfriend Sherelyn Russell, 25, felt their world had fallen apart when their caravan was condemned and they were forced to move out with nowhere to go.
“We were told we wouldn’t be left homeless by East Lindsey District Council but the only option open to us was going down the hostel route,” said Tony.
“Then we were offered accommodation, but miles apart. When you have been together for eight years that isn’t what you want to hear, so we just slept in the car.”
The couple parked up “anywhere they felt safe” around Skegness and had been living among as many treasured possessions as they could squeeze into their old estate car since February 15.
With them was the cat they rescued on Christmas Day when living on a caravan park in Coningsby, after fleeing “noisy, shared accomodation” in Skegness.
“We had been feeding it but when we were cooking lamb on Christmas Day it came in and never left,” said Tony. “We couldn’t leave it behind.”
Tony said they were at their wits end – sleeping on a blow-up mattress, eating cold packet food and washing with cleansing wipes unable to have a shower – when they called our reporter last Monday.
The AA had towed them to a garage in Alford after their car broke down in a layby in Candlesby.
“We didn’t know who to turn to. East Lindsey District Council said they wouldn’t see us homeless but we’ve been living in the car for weeks,” said Tony.
“Sherelyn has health issues, too, she is at high risk of bowel cancer and has to be monitored and has mental health issues. It isn’t good for her to be living like this.”
In addition the only money they had – a £2,500 payout to Sherelyn for a neck injury in a car accident – was running out.
“It was money were were going to use to get married and set up home together properly,” said Sherelyn. “Now it’s all gone.”
The newspaper contacted East Lindsey District Council and received a response from Homelessness, Housing and Wellbeing Service Manager at East Lindsey District Council, Jason Oxby. Mr Oxby said; “We are aware of Mr Pigram and Miss Russell’s housing situation and we are working with them to source accommodation which has included informing them of available properties which might meet their requirements.”
Shortly afterwards, we heard the good news from the couple that they had been handed the keys to a one-bed flat in Coningsby. “It feels great - it still doesn’t seem real,” said Sherelyn. “The flat is quite new and so different to where we have been living. We are really happy.”
At the moment they have few possessions to fill it with and are appealing for help with furniture after only being able to put a few items in storage. Tony said: “It may look like we have nothing, but we have everything.”