It just wouldn’t be Fair to bring our baby up on such a tiny isle
COUPLE SET UP NEW HOME AFTER SON’S BIRTH TV show star quits remote community
Jenny Morrison The star of a TV documentary about life on Fair Isle has quit the tiny island – after fathering a child with a woman he met online.
Shaun Milner, 36, celebrated the birth of son Isaac just weeks after leaving Fair Isle to set up home with girlfriend Jenny Magni in Shetland.
The couple had initially planned to raise their baby on Britain’s most remote inhabited island – with its population of fewer than 60 people.
They announced Jenny’s pregnancy with a scan picture on social media, declaring: “We would like to introduce the next Fair Isle resident.”
But they say a range of “small-island challenges” forced them to rethink their plans. Shaun, who appeared on last year’s two- part BBC documentar y Fair Isle: Living On The Edge, said: “When I moved to Fair Isle, I thought I would live there for e ver but things change.
“I’ ll miss the magic of the place, many of the people and the view I got from my bedroom window every morning.
“It was a hard decision to leave, and I know a lot of people would have liked us to stay, but for us it was the right thing to do.”
Shaun moved to Fair Isle – which is famous for its knitwear – in May 2015 with his then girlfriend Rachel Challoner.
The couple travelled more than 700 miles from their home in Lincolnshire to become the first incomers in more than f ive years to set up home on Fair Isle, a three-mile-long island that sits in the North Sea halfway between the Orkney and Shetland islands.
But while they both fell in love with life on Fair Isle, they fell out of love with each other. The TV crew, who had intended to spend 12 months filming them as they learned to run their National Trust sheep croft, also ended up recording the painful breakdown of their relationship.
As neither Shaun nor Rachel wanted to leave, they initially had to continue living in the same house.
Shaun was eventually able to move to one of just two council-owned homes on the island that unexpectedly came up for rent.
It was while he was living there that he met off ice worker Jenny, from Kent, after joining an internet dating site.
Jenny said: “Shaun and I just clicked right away. When he told me he lived on Fair Isle, I wasn’t fazed.
“My friends had never heard of it and I remember having to tell my dad that I was travelling more than 800 miles for a date – but it all worked out well.”
After a whirlwind romance, Jenny moved to Fair Isle in March. She discovered she was pregnant while packing for the trip.
Part-time coastguard Shaun, who now works for a marine company, said: “We initially planned to keep living on Fair Isle but we finally decided to leave because of a few small-island challenges.
“Employment opportunities was one of the biggest reasons. I wasn’t really getting the hours I needed or able to get a job on the island with the development potential I was looking for now we are starting a family.
“Healthcare was another reason – the island is struggling to recruit a nurse to live there.
“In recent months we’ve been travelling to and from Shetland a lot for di f ferent pregnancy- related appointments and often getting stuck in Lerwick for days at a time because of poor weather. It felt like we were spending more time there than on Fair Isle.
“Because the island is so small, there wouldn’t be any children the same age for Isaac to play with either – and no mother and toddler group or anything like that for Jenny to go to.
“All in all, we decided the time was right for us to move.”
Shaun’s ex Rachel continues to live on Fair Isle, running the croft where they both once lived.
She keeps sheep, hens, cats and dogs as well as making knitwear.
REMOTE Fair Isle is halfway between the Orkney and Shetland islands