Great Britain

Family-of-six who live off credit trade lives with a wealthy landowner who inherited an estate on Rich House Poor House

A FAMILY-of-six who live off credit trade lives with a wealthy family who inherited thousands of acres of land and entertained royalty. 

Land owner Robert Elwes, his wife Marina, an archeologist, and their eldest daughter, Emily, 28, live in a Grade II-listed eight-bedroom house in the middle of 5,000 acres in Lincolnshire.  

The land was used for shooting, with the Queen’s father, King George VI visiting, while Robert’s father was a Lord Lieutenant and worked for the Queen.

“He would escort the Queen when she came here, and he escorted Princess Diana,” He revealed. 

The couple also own 30 properties in the nearby town, and have 12 staff members working for them. 

While the house is huge, Robert grew up in a 30-bedroom manor - with the Queen of Denmark working as their nanny.

Robert has never had to worry about money, and spends most of his time researching music in Austria, while Marina and Emily are often abroad too. 

In contrast, Siobhan and Andy Leckenby, from Leeds, share their three-bedroom home with Kacey-Leigh, nine, Oscar, five, and Poppy, two, and Andy’s son. 

While they worked hard to get a mortgage for their home, they racked up £20,000 worth of debts furnishing it. 

Andy said they’re now trapped in a “circle”, trying to pay things off each month, and rarely get any time or money to spend on treats, with the couple going to KFC and the cinema for their last anniversary. 

Andy, who works in a warehouse, said: “It’s hard but you’ve got to keep on going.

“I feel gutted sometimes when I’m absolutely working I'm shattered and they want a bit of attention, and sometimes there’s days when it’s hard to give it.

“If I was debt free and didn't have to think about money I'd spend a lot more time with the children because they don't stay children forever.” 

Siobhan has got a system in place for shopping, knowing when to go to get the most discounted food. 

The mum, who works in customer relations, said: “We’ve realised the supermarket routines, if you go around  half six at night , that’s when everything is at its lowest price. 

“If I don't get a yellow label I’m a bit gutted.”

After they’ve paid their bills they have just £132 a week to live on, compared to the Elwes’ £1264 - a month’s wages for the family. 

The Leckenby’s can’t believe how many bedrooms their new home has or how much cash they have to spend, while the Elwes’ get cosy and count the pennies.

The families swap schedules too, with the Leckenby’s enjoying Scottish dancing and a private archery game, while the Elwes’ volunteer at the local foodbank, cook meals for their neighbour, head to the dog tracks and the local pub. 

Siobhan struggles to understand how the Elwes’ function as a family, after hearing from their gamekeeper, Colin, that they have a dozen staff.

He reveals the family spends a lot of time apart, but always gives their workers Christmas presents. 

The mum says: “It’s weird. It’s not normal to us. To be able to do these kind of hobbies regularly, they must have a lot of time on their hands. 

“Be nice to have a bit more time on your hands. Seems they might have a bit too much time. 

“The family seems to travel separately quite a lot. They're not like a family unit.”

Meanwhile the Elwes’ go food shopping on a budget, with Robert buying a mug with their precious pennies, and later he goes looking for a teapot and egg cups. 

They learn more about Siobhan, who was homeless when she was younger, and now goes out of her way to help others. 

As well as volunteering they make Sunday lunch for their neighbour, Brenda, and Marina makes sure to serve her a meal. 

Marina said: “They work full time, raise a family of four children and still find time to look after  Brenda. They go way and above.”

With their disposable income, Andy decided to treat Siobhan for her birthday and he hires a private chef for a romantic dinner in the yurt. 

Despite Andy wishing he could “do more” for his family, Siobhan tells him “if you’ve got family you’re rich anyway.”

But the couple take the kids to The Range, and blow nearly £400 toys with their remaining cash. 

While Marina and Robert enjoy a night at the dog track and the local pub, with Marina saying she’s learnt a lot from their week. 

She says: “I think Robert and Emily will have a renewed appreciation for what they have.”

The families finally meet up, with Andy telling the Elwes; “I’m the richest person in the world because of what this lady does.”

Robert added: “One of the things I’ve learnt from this is that you need to spend time together.

“I think that's one of the things which has come out of this, for us.” 

Siobhan said she learned “don't judge a book by its cover”, while Marina reflected: “Money can make life easier, but happiness has nothing to do with it.” 

The two families made a lasting impression on each other, with the Elwes’ offering Andy and Siobhan the use of their yurt to renew vows for their ten-year anniversary.

And they also left some cash to go towards repayments, and ensured their fridge was fully stocked. 

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