After Learning a Single Dad Struggled With Confinement and Kids in High-Rise, Couple Lets Them Use Beach Home


As has been the case for families all around the globe, the past few months have been stressful for the Smiths, to see the least.

Sam Smith is a single father to 6-year-old Lysander and 3-year-old Zenduel. Since lockdown began in England, the family has been largely confined to their one-bed apartment on the 15th floor of a high-rise in East London.

It’s not a very big apartment—just 12 steps from one side of the main room to the other—and with local parks closed, sometimes Sam and the kids have been stuck inside for 23 hours a day.

When the family went on the BBC Breakfast Show to talk about what it’s like to be confined in a very small living area during the pandemic, a couple, Ken and Sheila Sims, were watching the interview from their home on the Devon coast.

Ken grew up in a high-rise apartment building as a young boy, and felt especially saddened seeing the difficulties the Smiths was going through.

Luckily, he knew just how to help. He could give the Smith family a break by asking them if they’d like to spend a week at his cottage by the English seaside.

Of course, they said yes to Ken’s idea.

“I can’t find the words… ” Sam said at the beach on his family’s Devon vacation. Motioning at the sky and water all around him, at his young sons making sandcastles, he exclaimed, “It’s beautiful!”