The market town of Malmesbury found itself in the national news today as it was celebrated as a capital of kindness.

The town hit the headlines as the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph dedicated pages to reporting Malmesbury’s shining example of good neighbourliness for rallying round to help brother and sister locals who had fallen on hard times.

Arnold and Bernadette op de Haar had nowhere to live after their Holland Park Press publishing company faced difficulties and they could not afford the rent on their four-bed cottage in the town.

In desperation Arnold, 59, and Bernadette, 63, made a video appeal and posted it on the town’s community site on Facebook.

The Mail reported that Bernadette said: “We are in a bit of a pickle. We are about to lose the roof over our heads. We don’t need something large or with amenities. Something dry with an internet connection will enable us to continue publishing fabulous books.”

The town responded with kindness.

“People of all ages offered to help them move their 180-odd boxes of books and their furniture into storage,” reports the Mail.

Within a day they had received an offer of accommodation free for a few months, two furnished rooms and a shared kitchen in the home of a well-wisher.

Then their landlord on their original home waived their last two months rent, enabling them to stay a while longer, a local garage fixed their 20-year-old car for no charge and, when their laptop failed, another neighbour provided a new one.

“Here in Malmesbury the people are amazing,” Arnold told the newspaper, “they are warm, they are kind, they are emotional and they have saved us; helping us over the hump so that we can get our business back on track next year, find somewhere permanent to live and move forward again.”