A family from Letchworth were caught up in the devastating fires that have engulfed the Greek island of Rhodes.

Hayley, her fiancé Ross and their children Alexis (aged 12), Jude (12) and Jax (8) arrived on the island for what they thought would be a blissful and relaxing holiday.

But instead, they had to leave their hotel and endure days on the move in temporary accommodation - including sleeping on a concrete floor - before their flight home earlier this week.

They were in the restaurant at their Mitsis Rodos hotel around 1pm on Saturday, July 22 when they saw people begin to look up at the sky and walk around with masks.

Earlier that morning, they had heard rumours of fires and then came out of the restaurant to see black smoke in the air.

Within an hour they had been evacuated to the nearby beach along with, Hayley says, around 3,000 other people from multiple hotels. 

"Nobody knew what was going on, and more and more of the smoke started coming over the beach."

The Comet: The hotel that Hayley and her family were staying in has been badly damaged by the fire.The hotel that Hayley and her family were staying in has been badly damaged by the fire. (Image: Picture supplied)

Some boats arrived to pick people up, and Hayley says that the travellers boarding them had to leave their suitcases on the beach. Luckily, Ross had the foresight to run back to get their passports in case they were needed - their hotel was later badly damaged by the fires.

"We got moved and told to walk for two miles with no water. There were kids crying, old people fainting in the bushes, it was horrendous.

"Then we got picked up by a pick-up truck with about twenty others in the back. It took us to a school in a nearby village, where locals came in with water.

"We were all so thirsty, especially with the smoke - all our mouths were so dry and it was about forty degrees."

At the school, Hayley and her family were told that a coach would arrive and take them to a sister hotel of the one they had originally been staying in.

But chaos ensued. "Loads of different hotels were coming to this school and they were trying to separate everybody, but they were all trying to get on the buses."

The Comet: Tens of thousands of people have been affected by the fires.Tens of thousands of people have been affected by the fires. (Image: PA)

Those organising the coaches were trying to prioritise those with babies and children, "but everybody was arguing and shoving, people were crying".

It got worse, as the promised coaches never arrived to pick up Hayley and her family. Then, all the electricity went out.

"Everybody was arguing and shouting in the dark, rescue boats came but they already had people on them.

"We were trying to keep our kids close in the pitch black darkness, and could see the flames getting closer and closer.

"We were panicking and didn't know what to do. A lady came along with a light, and told us we had to move again, so we followed her through some fields for another couple of miles".

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They arrived at a Tui hotel, where there were hundreds more people trying to get on buses.

According to Hayley, the hotel had a capacity of 1,000 people, but there were 3,000 people there when she arrived with her family, and they weren't allowed to eat from the buffet.

"We had nowhere to sleep, we had no food, the kids had to lay on the concrete floor.

"We hadn't been able to get hold of the holiday company, they hadn't rung us or anything.

"We were told that we could get a room and something to eat, but then it all changed.

The Comet: Hayley and her family had just been eating at their hotel restaurant when they saw the smoke.Hayley and her family had just been eating at their hotel restaurant when they saw the smoke. (Image: Picture supplied)

"They kicked us out and we had to grab our stuff and go again, onto another bus.

"We didn't know where it was going and we could see the fire."

They were then moved on again, to another school, this time in Rhodes town itself.

Locals from the nearby area "had set up a Facebook group and were donating toilet rolls, cakes, and we had some blow up beds", though they "just kept on going flat".

Hayley lauds the attitude of the locals, saying: "They were so, so kind.

"They put a barbecue on with some skewers, and asked if there was anything they could do."

Many of them have lost their own houses and businesses, and Hayley was able to provide them with some money and clothes in return for their hospitality.

After another night at the school, Hayley and her family were eventually able to get to the airport for their scheduled flight, though they had lost most of their belongings and were to be delayed another four hours.

They eventually made it home at just after 5am on Monday, July 24, and were able to have a much-needed sleep.

"Our poor kids are a little bit traumatised. My daughter has nightmares about being caught in the fire.

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"It was so hot as well, with mosquitoes everywhere and not having much food.

"You just have to make do and get on with it - you go into survival mode I think!"

They're now hoping that they'll be able to claim through their insurance for compensation.

And, if nothing else, Hayley adds, "It'll be something the kids remember forever, anyway!"