Farmer helped to make right choice by Audience of 50 strangers
EVERYONE likes to have a helping hand in making a decision, but Cheltenham farmer Ian Wainwright had 50 pairs.
The 47-year-old had a tough choice to make – whether or not to give up the family farm.
His uncles, now in their 80s, still run Home Farm, near Stow, but have to sell the business.
Ian had the option of buying part of the dairy farm to keep it in the family, but he wanted to try his hand at other things.
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Fortunately, bosses at Channel 4 had the answer in the guise of a new television show called The Audience.
It sees a person with a life-changing decision to make being followed by 50 strangers for a week. When the week is over, they give their verdict.
Ian admitted it had been a worthwhile, if strange, experience.
"I didn't actually apply to go on to the programme, but had gone for another show on young farmers in the Cotswolds," he said.
"It turned out I was too old for that, but then I got a call telling me about this show.
"Before I knew it, 50 people had turned up at the farm in June and were following me around as I did my daily chores."
Ian, who lives with fiancee Sandy near to Prestbury Racecourse, admitted there had been a lot of emotions for him in making any decision.
"It was difficult as I had lived here until I was nine and there are a lot of memories here," he said.
"I just didn't know whether I should go and find a new job in Cheltenham or, because of the family ties, battle it out here."
After following him around, the group made their final decision in favour of Ian finding a new life. He has decided to follow their advice.
"I'm only 47 and have another 20 years of my working life to live," Ian added. "This has been an experience worth doing. I would never have thought of applying to take part, but I'm glad I did.
"This has helped to take the weight off my shoulders. After all they can't all be wrong."
As for what happens once the farm is sold, he added: "I'll stay on at the farm until my uncles have been settled somewhere and the place has been sold.
"After that, I don't know what I'm going to do. But I'm sure another door will open."