Keith enjoys new life in the sun

A father-of-four from St Helens who swapped the North West of England for the south of France has been featured on a popular prime time television programme.

Friday, 19th February 2010, 9:01 am

Keith Fairhurst, 53, and his family were featured on the Channel Five show Build a New Life in the Country this month after taking the plunge to open up a B&B.

Keith's step-daughter, Tori, suggested approaching TV producers when he and his wife. Antoinette. took the brave decision to follow their dream to the south of France in 2008.

But Keith, formerly of Eccleston Park, admitted it was Antoinette who had to cope with the most stress while their two-bedroom Les Marguerites villa in Banyuls Sur Mer, near Perpignan, was converted into a five-bed B&B.

He said: "Antoinette managed the whole build while I was away trying to earn the money to fund the massive renovation. This put a tremendous amount of weight on Antoinette's shoulders to not only manage the renovations but also to settle the kids into schools and help them with their French translations.

"We used an English structural engineer and builder but the electrics and plumbing were carried out by French builders. Antoinette designed the new layout of the property and commissioned all the work.

"Money was tight throughout and there were some very emotional times when we were down to our last pennies but the bank in France was very supportive. If we had been in the UK I'm not sure we'd have got the same level of support. France is very expensive though so we even came back to the UK to buy a few things!"

Keith, an environmental worker, set his heart on a new life in France after working in Paris for a time during the 1990s.

He says children Louis, five, Lydie, three, and step-daughters Tori, 13, and 11-year-old Abigail have already adjusted perfectly to the region and love the sun!

The Fairhurst's B&B – the Chambre D'hote – is really taking off now too.

Keith added: "We have been here for 18 months now and are so glad we moved. The best thing is the weather in the summer and the freedom the children have.

"The house is stunning – everyone who walks past it stops to admire it – and the village and surrounding area just make it extra special."