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Maidstone family to move 6,000 miles to Amazon rainforest to kick-start Ecuador's chocolate industry

The turn of the year is famously a time for making resolutions and promises of a better life, but one family is set to take that to the extreme in 2020.

Chocolate taster and author Angus Kennedy, along with his wife and their five children, will pull up their Maidstone roots and embark on an incredible move 6,000 miles away - to the middle of the Amazon.

Angus Kennedy is a chocolate taster and reviewer. Picture: Andy Payton
Angus Kennedy is a chocolate taster and reviewer. Picture: Andy Payton

Government officials from Ecuador phoned up Mr Kennedy in November, telling him they'd been tracking his career, and offered him a huge 50-acre estate within the world's biggest rainforest.

In exchange, he will provide advice and expertise on how to inject new life into the country's cocoa industry, which has suffered a slight decline, having previously been a world-leader.

Friends have questioned why they would give up their comfortable life in Kent, but the family are adamant the opportunity has come about at the perfect time.

Mr Kennedy said: "A lot of people are starting to feel that the harder you work, the slower things seem to go, which can get really frustrating.

"I'd just started thinking how monotonous life was - it was nothing but shopping and school runs.

Angus Kennedy and his family outside the villa they expected to be renting in Majorca
Angus Kennedy and his family outside the villa they expected to be renting in Majorca

"Then this came out of the blue and it was like a fairytale. When I spoke to my wife she didn't believe it but it became apparent quite quickly that they were serious.

"We had a barrage of messages, but the more people who said we're crazy, the more determined it made us."

The family are no strangers to drama overseas, having fallen foul of a holiday scam when they packed their bags for Majorca earlier this year, but insist there is no such danger this time around.

To get a better feel for the project ahead of them, Mr Kennedy and his eldest son, Leon, flew out to South America just two weeks after contact was first made to meet those involved.

Another visit, this time involving the whole family, is pencilled in for February, where they've even been invited to the Vice-President's palace, before they're set to move over for good in the summer.

Angus Kennedy is a chocolate taster and reviewer. Picture: Andy Payton
Angus Kennedy is a chocolate taster and reviewer. Picture: Andy Payton

The plan is for the younger children - eight-year-old Keiran and George, 13 - to be home-schooled, while exciting opportunities have opened up for the older sibilings, Ruby, 17, Leon, 19, and 20-year-old Lorna.

"Everything seemed to fall into place - it feels like a good time to do something mad," Mr Kennedy said.

"There's always reasons not to do things, and I'm now sure where this is going to take us, but it's one of those situations where you just have to throw caution to the wind.

"I just want to allow my life to happen rather than trying to control everything. Hopefully people see it as a good motivational story."

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