John Caudwell and wife Modesta open their UK home to Ukrainian refugees - EXCLUSIVE

John is offering the detached two-bedroom Coach House in the grounds of his Staffordshire mansion

In an exclusive interview with HELLO! magazine, entrepreneur and philanthropist John Caudwell and his partner, former Olympic cyclist Modesta Vžesniauskaitė, reveal why they want to offer a home to Ukrainian refugees.

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"I feel heartbroken for the people whose lives have been destroyed," John, who is offering the detached two-bedroom Coach House in the grounds of his Staffordshire mansion to a fleeing family, tells the magazine.

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"Picture yourself in that situation," continues the businessman who kicked off a campaign to encourage wealthy individuals to host Ukrainian refugees who have escaped their war torn country.

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"You've got no home, and the fear of death and being murdered on the street is constant. It's beyond comprehension."

John with his wife Modesta

In the interview, Lithuanian-born Modesta, 38, who is mum to Leo, nine, and one-year-old William - her son with John, who founded Phones4U and created children's charity, Caudwell Children – also tells for the first time how she personally understands how it feels to be invaded.

"I know from experience the fear and trauma that the children and families in Ukraine are going through. It's a feeling of terror I will never forget.

"On Friday 11 January 1991 when I was eight years old an alarm went off at school and a teacher said, 'Run home quickly! The Russians are coming to occupy Lithuania.'

"I was terrified and ran so fast," she continues as she recalls The January Events, known as Bloody Sunday, when the Soviet Union attempted to reclaim her country.

The interview is available in this week's issue

"For three days my family sat in the house feeling terrified. The Russian soldiers passed through my city to take the capital Vilnius and a lot of people were killed. But thank God that two days later Lithuania found freedom."

Modesta was in Lithuania visiting her sick father when Russian tanks rolled into neighbouring Ukraine last month.

"When I see those mothers who had to leave their husbands behind to fight for their country and are now trying to keep their children safe, I feel their pain and how scared they must be, not knowing what will happen tomorrow," she continued. "When I returned home, I said, 'John, we have to do something. We have to help.'"

To read the full article, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! on sale now. Subscribe to HELLO! to get the magazine delivered free to your door every week or purchase the digital edition online via our Apple or Google apps.

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