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The family riding out coronavirus lockdown on a Greek olive grove

PUBLISHED: 08:34 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:34 01 April 2020

The Thacker family, who last lived in Barnham, near Thetford, are seeing out the coronavirus lockdown at an olive grove on the Greek island of Corfu. Picture: Thacker family

The Thacker family, who last lived in Barnham, near Thetford, are seeing out the coronavirus lockdown at an olive grove on the Greek island of Corfu. Picture: Thacker family

Archant

When the Thacker family set off in their motorhome for a year-long tour of Europe, fewer than 200 people had contracted coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The Thacker family, who last lived in Barnham, near Thetford, were midway through a European tour when the coronavirus pandemic began. Picture: Thacker familyThe Thacker family, who last lived in Barnham, near Thetford, were midway through a European tour when the coronavirus pandemic began. Picture: Thacker family

Fast forward almost three months and the threat of COVID-19 has resulted in widespread lockdown across the globe, with more than 800,000 recorded cases and around 40,000 deaths.

But Kate and Martin Thacker, alongside their daughters Shannon and Phoebe, dogs Milo and Cooper, and cat Topsy, are seeing out these unprecedented times in a rather unique location - an olive grove on the Greek island of Corfu.

The Thacker family camper van had taken them across much of Europe before the coronavirus pandemic began. Picture: Thacker familyThe Thacker family camper van had taken them across much of Europe before the coronavirus pandemic began. Picture: Thacker family

The family, whose last static home was in Barnham, near Thetford, sold everything and adopted a new way of life in 2017, cutting all ties with bricks and mortar.

Having embarked upon their first European tour in 2018, the intrepid adventurers hit the road again in January of this year, when the virus had barely begun to cast its shadow over the world.

The Thacker family, who last lived in Barnham, near Thetford, were midway through a European tour when the coronavirus pandemic began. Picture: Thacker familyThe Thacker family, who last lived in Barnham, near Thetford, were midway through a European tour when the coronavirus pandemic began. Picture: Thacker family

With travel restrictions growing tighter as the weeks went by, the Thacker family decided to head to the Greek islands.

“We thought if we are going to get locked into a country we’d sooner it be Greece, a place we’ve always loved,” said Mrs Thacker.

The Thacker family cat, Topsy, who has accompanied them on their European travels. Picture: Thacker familyThe Thacker family cat, Topsy, who has accompanied them on their European travels. Picture: Thacker family

“It was okay there for a couple of weeks, but then the government clamped down and things were developing every day.”

Mr Thacker added: “One Monday they shut all the beaches, which is where we usually park up. But then out of the blue someone said their friend had an olive grove and we could stay there.”

The Thacker family camper van had taken them across much of Europe before the coronavirus pandemic began. Picture: Thacker familyThe Thacker family camper van had taken them across much of Europe before the coronavirus pandemic began. Picture: Thacker family

As lockdown measures are enforced across Europe, the Thackers have been adjusting to more permanent surroundings and making the best of their situation.

Amid lingering uncertainty, the family are simply taking each day as it comes.

The Thacker family, who last lived in Barnham, near Thetford, are seeing out the coronavirus lockdown at an olive grove on the Greek island of Corfu. Picture: Thacker familyThe Thacker family, who last lived in Barnham, near Thetford, are seeing out the coronavirus lockdown at an olive grove on the Greek island of Corfu. Picture: Thacker family

“It feels like we’re in the right place,” said Mrs Thacker. “We feel comfortable, we’re happy and the locals have been really good with us - otherwise things would have been a lot tougher.”

Mr Thacker added: “We’ve thought about going back to the UK but we wouldn’t be able to see our families anyway.

“In years to come when we look back on the coronavirus, our story is going to be a little bit different to everyone else’s.”

To keep track of the Thacker family’s travels, visit their Van Journey Facebook page.

For the latest COVID-19 news, visit the Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook page.

You can also subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, providing all the latest from where you live.


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