FOLLOWING HEART: Stacey Colphut and Nigel Pratt enjoy their time together working at the orchard.
FOLLOWING HEART: Stacey Colphut and Nigel Pratt enjoy their time together working at the orchard. Contributed

The city girl who followed her heart to the country

WHAT started as a chance meeting in London with a teenage acquaintance has become a Granite Belt love story for the ages.

Stacey Colthup was working in the finance sector in London when she met Nigel Pratt, who was at the tail end of a round-the-world trip.

The pair knew of each other as teenagers through mutual friends but had never had an actual conversation until they ran into each other on the other side of the world.

"It just so happened I'd been living in London for three years and my flight was booked a week after his return flight home,” she said.

Stacey moved to Brisbane and worked in property development while Nigel headed home to Pikes Creek, west of Stanthorpe, to help run the family farm.

Soon after the couple began dating long distance.

Two and half years later, in January this year, Stacey decided to take the plunge, packing up her gear and leaving her job, friends and family in Brisbane to join Nigel at the family farm.

It's a long way from the world of property development and finance but Stacey still uses these skills, despite getting her hands dirty working with livestock or in the orchard.

"A lot of people have a misconception of the kind of work that is involved in farming,” she said.

"I can start the day feeding sheep or cattle and then work in the office for the rest of the day.”

She said she loved the challenge of getting her boots dirty at the property, Traprock Orchard, while still feeling at home working in the farm's office.

One of the hardest parts of Stacey's move was giving up her degree in property economics.

"I decided not to continue studying property as I felt the career opportunities within that industry were limited in Stanthorpe,” she said.

"But I'm making the most of it and have spent the past six months adjusting and gauging what other opportunities are available.”

Instead, Stacey will be starting a Bachelor of Commerce through USQ online and plans to use her new skills on the farm and in the Stanthorpe community.

Along with giving up her degree, Stacey said there were other adjustments she has had to make.

"Moving to a new town and being known as someone else's partner can be tough, but it's all part of the transition process and I'm looking forward to my future with Nigel,” she said.

"From the moment we had a beer in the pub together we became best friends and it was just easy.

"Sometimes life just throws you something else.

"Although working on a farm wasn't what I had planned for my future, I absolutely love it and wouldn't have it any other way.”