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

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News - Rachel runs croft on isle

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.

STAY­ING

RE­MOTE Fair Isle is half­way be­tween the Orkney and Shet­land is­lands

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