Coronavirus: Suffolk family isolating in van on Corfu

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image captionThe Thacker family and their pets are living in a van in Corfu

A British family have found themselves in isolation in a van on a Greek island after their European travels were curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kate, 36, and Martin Thacker, 39, their two daughters, Shannon, 12, and Phoebe, 10, two dogs and cat started travelling across the continent in January.

After journeying through France, Italy and Slovenia, they found their way to the island of Corfu.

The family, from Barnham in Suffolk, have praised locals for their support.

After selling their house and downsizing, the Thackers decided to go travelling and see a different side of life.

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image captionThey had been travelling across Europe since January

Mr Thacker said the children had textbooks and used educational apps and the internet to learn.

But, he said, they were "experiencing these places first hand, they experience different cultures and languages and they meet lots of interesting people".

The family headed to Greece as coronavirus began to take hold in mainland Europe and then made their way to the Greek islands, where they felt they would be more safe.

Mr Thacker, who said he previously had a "relatively high-pressured job", said he and his wife decided to travel to get away from the 9 to 5.

He said it would make the children "very worldly" and it was "phenomenal" that they could spend time together as a family.

"For us it's just family time, the experiences we get to have together rather than having individual lives," he said.

Restrictions on movement have been in place in Corfu and schools, cafes and beaches have all been closed, which the Thackers said had happened very quickly.

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image captionBeaches have now been closed to the public in Greece, the Thacker family said

Mr Thacker, originally from Thetford in Norfolk, said strict curfew rules, including permits for journeys, were being enforced with fines.

At one stage the family and their van were parked on a beach when it was closed by authorities.

They had to find somewhere to stay long-term but fortunately met an Greek man whose friend was willing to let them stay on their olive grove - where they have now been for a fortnight.

"The van is set up with solar power, so as long as we have diesel for our cooker and fresh water then we are sorted," Mrs Thacker said.

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