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Family from Halesworth left homeless by devastating forest fires in Portugal

PUBLISHED: 11:57 25 June 2017

The devastated home of a former Suffolk family in Portugal after the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades. A family-of-five from the Halesworth area moved there five years ago: parents Nigel and Julie Green and their children Jack, George and Emma. Picture: JULIE GREEN

The devastated home of a former Suffolk family in Portugal after the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades. A family-of-five from the Halesworth area moved there five years ago: parents Nigel and Julie Green and their children Jack, George and Emma. Picture: JULIE GREEN

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A family who moved from north Suffolk to Portugal almost a decade ago have been left homeless after the country’s deadliest natural disaster in years.

Firefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal. Picture: AP PHOTO/ARMANDO FRANCAFirefighters of the Portuguese National Republican Guard work to stop a forest fire from reaching the village of Avelar, central Portugal. Picture: AP PHOTO/ARMANDO FRANCA

A fundraising campaign has now been launched to aid the Green family, who previously lived in Halesworth.

Parents Nigel, 53, and Julie, 50, along with children Emma, in her early 20s, George, 19, and Jack, 11, are currently staying with friends after being safely evacuated from the Pedrogao Grande area – one of the worst-hit areas of the forest fires that has killed more than 60 people.

While they are safe, their home has been devastated by the fires – and so friends of the family have set up a JustGiving fundraising page with the aim of raising £2,000 to help the Green family start to rebuild their home once it is safe to return to their land.

Nigel Green, 53, with children Jack, 11, and George, 19. Picture: JULIE GREENNigel Green, 53, with children Jack, 11, and George, 19. Picture: JULIE GREEN

Ann David, 65, and Tim David, 66, also from the Halesworth area, moved to Portugal five years ago. They have not been affected by the fires so far, but as Mrs David taught the Green children at primary school, she established the JustGiving page. Mrs David said: “The scale of the fires this year is unprecedented. So many people have lost their homes and livelihoods. We have friends who live in the centre of the worst hit area, Pedrogao Grande. The Green family moved from Halesworth to Portugal about nine years ago to live a sustainable life. All their hard work has just gone in the fires. Their children Jack, George and Emma went to Bramfield and Edgar Sewter primary schools. They are such lovely people who will be fine – thankfully they are all safe – having evacuated in time. They have been back to their home and their property has been devastated by the fires. It is not yet safe to stay there as the fire has revisited their land seven times. The whole family has worked so physically hard only to see their labours go up in smoke.”

Mrs David added: “I have had messages from the family and they are already overwhelmed by the care being shown to them. George said he wished he could wake up and find that the nightmare was over.”

More than 2,000 firefighters and two dozen water-dropping aircraft fought the fires for days and nights amid strong winds and temperatures above 40C (104F) as the country’s annual wildfire season started earlier than usual.

The devastated home of a former Suffolk family in Portugal after the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades. A family-of-five from the Halesworth area moved there five years ago: parents Nigel and Julie Green and their children Jack, George and Emma. Picture: JULIE GREENThe devastated home of a former Suffolk family in Portugal after the country's deadliest natural disaster in decades. A family-of-five from the Halesworth area moved there five years ago: parents Nigel and Julie Green and their children Jack, George and Emma. Picture: JULIE GREEN

To pledge support to the Green family, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ann-david

Nigel Green, 53, (far left), Julie Green, 50, (far right) with children (l-r): Emma, early 20s, Jack, 11, and George, 19. Picture: JULIE GREENNigel Green, 53, (far left), Julie Green, 50, (far right) with children (l-r): Emma, early 20s, Jack, 11, and George, 19. Picture: JULIE GREEN

A fire fighting aircraft drops water over a fire outside the village of Pedrogao Grande central Portugal. Picture: AP PHOTO/PAULO DUARTEA fire fighting aircraft drops water over a fire outside the village of Pedrogao Grande central Portugal. Picture: AP PHOTO/PAULO DUARTE

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