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Celebrity Health – Liz Fletcher

Actress Liz Fletcher speaks to Liz Parry about her family’s move to the countryside and how it’s benefited their health and wellbeing

Image of the Fletcher family © Joseph Sinclair

Raising four children under the age of six whilst juggling work is a challenge for any parent. But actors Kelvin and Liz Fletcher decided to add another challenge into the mix by opting to run a 120-acre farm at the same time. BBC One viewers caught a glimpse into the family’s life during the TV show Kelvin’s Big Farming Adventure, which followed them as they got to grips with their new lifestyle in the Peak District. Kelvin is best known for playing the character of Andy Sugden in Emmerdale for 20 years, and also for winning the 2019 series of Strictly Come Dancing. Liz has appeared in shows such as Cold Feet and the film True Calling. The couple have a daughter, Marnie, son Milo and twin boys Maximus and Mateusz.

Q You had no previous experience of running a farm before your move to the countryside. Was it a steep learning curve?

Liz: Yes, definitely. Obviously it’s a massive responsibility. It’s not just a case of moving house; we knew that we would be in charge of land and in charge of animals. This would be in addition to looking after the kids and doing our day-to-day jobs. Sometimes you can only learn things on the job, and every day we’re learning something new. We started off with 10 sheep and now we’re up to about 120. Our main goal is to become completely self-sufficient and to be off-grid.

Q Did you have anyone to give you help and guidance?

Liz: At first it was just us on our own, but we have an amazing neighbour, Gilly, who lives on the next farm to us. We used to ask her so many questions, and we probably drove her mad! But she would answer all our questions and she’s like a family member now.

Q What have you enjoyed most about the experience?

Liz: The thing I love most of all is seeing how much joy the kids get out of living on the farm. They love learning about animals and how we’re responsible for this land. They were two and four when we moved here, and now they can herd sheep and feed pigs. They know about the safety side of things and how to alert people if you see any animals that are trapped or in danger. Their days are so varied too. One minute my daughter will be in a ballerina dress dancing around the kitchen and the next thing she’s got her wellies on and she’s herding sheep to the next field. I just think wow! What a life. She’s so lucky to have this.

Q What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?

Liz: I think just trying to fit it all in. I’m trying to carve out my own career, as well as raise four children and be involved in looking after the farm. Sometimes that means you have to spread yourself thinly. When you think you’ve got the master plan for what you’re going to do that day, the unknown always happens, like an animal might escape. You have to be ready for the unexpected and be able to react to things quickly, in the moment.

Q How are you finding juggling all this with raising the twins as well?

Liz: They’re eight months now and that time has flown by. We just have to slot them in. Often we get them in the baby carriers and we’re out farming with them. Or we’ll be pushing them in the pram while we’ve got a bucket of food that we’re taking to the sheep. We just make it work between me and Kelvin. If he’s out working then I’ll take on the lion’s share of the babies. But if I’m doing something, then he has to take over.

We have to really work as a team and be organised because as soon as we don’t have any organisation then chaos occurs!

Q Would you say that you all have a healthier lifestyle since moving to the countryside?

Liz: We’ve always had a healthy lifestyle. But I think the main thing is that we eat seasonal vegetables and fruit now. And we eat out less. We cook more so everything’s a bit fresher. We eat a lot of meat and vegetables like chicken, lamb and steak with potatoes and carrots. We eat a lot of colourful food. I’m weaning the twins at the minute and they’re eating things like beetroot mixed in with apple, so they’re covered in purple food by the time they’ve finished!

Q Are you a lot more physically active now than you used to be?

Liz: We’ve got 120 acres, and you constantly have to do the rounds. You’re walking around checking the fields, checking the sheep and the animals, and making sure that none of the fences have broken for them to get out. So we’re always circling the premises, often with four kids in tow. We definitely don’t need to go to the gym any more!

Q What advice would you give to anyone who would like to pursue a similar life change?

Liz: I think that research is the first thing and preparing yourself for the fact that nothing happens overnight. There might be risks involved, and it might not go right the first time, but if you’ve done the research, you’ll know how to make it work. If you want to do it and are prepared, then go for it!

You can follow the Fletchers’ journey on Instagram @fletchersonthefarm or buy their book Fletchers On the Farm: Mud, Mayhem and Marriage from all major booksellers and online.

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