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Family with 10 children and military veteran search for home in King's Lynn area

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A homeless family with 10 children and a former military veteran are searching for a home after being moved on by councils throughout the country.

Arron Cooper is an ex-serviceman who was refused accommodation because of the size of his family in Wales.

After being neglected and moved on by other county councils, the family has been taken on in Lynn by SSAFA and the Bridge for Heroes military charity after coming to the attention of borough councillor Mike Taylor, who is chairman of the charity.

The borough council is working with the charities to try and resolve the problem.

The family, which includes children ranging from 16 weeks to 18 years, are currently living in temporary accommodation at Woodlakes Park at Stow Bridge until Monday.

Suzanne Cooper, third from left, with her 10 children at their temporary accommodation at Woodlakes
Suzanne Cooper, third from left, with her 10 children at their temporary accommodation at Woodlakes

Mr Cooper is currently working 60 hours a week as a lorry driver, and the family can afford to live in accommodation.

However, they are being refused because of what Mike Taylor has called “stereotypical views of housing 10 children”.

One landlord even refused to accept the family because of concerns over a pushchair ‘soiling the carpet.’

“The father did serve his country and is working 60 hours a week, so we felt obliged to help him”, Mr Taylor said.

“We just need someone with the goodwill to take them on.”

As well as supplying the family with toys and providing them with fresh laundry, Bridge for Heroes are also driving the eldest daughter to work in Middleton then picking her up again at 11pm.

Mr Taylor added: “We need a five-bedded property in King’s Lynn, Swaffham, Downham etc. to give the children stability and so he can keep his job.

“They are very, very nice but it is getting that across for someone to take them on.

“Luckily as a family, he [Arron] is not wounded and none of the children are ill. We call them the Waltons because they are so nice.

“The borough council in Lynn realised he was an ex-soldier less than five years ago and got involved straight away the same day.”

Mr Cooper served with The Royal Anglian Regiment, including service in Afghanistan, then with the Military Police Guard Service.

Mr Taylor continued: “Other councils discharged their statutory obligation and got the family to move on somewhere else, which was a bit naughty really.

“The children can’t get into school because they have been moved around so much but they are all asking to go so they can get an education and meet friends, so they are all highly motivated.”

Gordon Halewood of Bridge for Heroes, who is looking after the family, said: “The basic message is trying to get the word out, and getting over the landlord’s preconceptions.

“We are looking to try and get the family accommodated and have been trawling around various estate agents.”

Suzanne has been tutoring the children while they search for a home which would mean they could move into mainstream education.

If anyone knows of a suitable property, then call Bridge for Heroes on 01553 760230.

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