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As Chris Evans shifts out of Top Gear, we ask what it's like to put brakes on a career and follow totally new route

It takes guts to walk away from a job, but is it a rewarding experience? Laurence White puts that very question...

Presenter Chris Evans dramatically quit the petrol-heads' favourite BBC show Top Gear on Monday saying that he had "given it his best shot but sometimes that is not enough".

He is said to have made his decision last week ahead of the last show in the first series since the departure of James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson and just before viewing figures shows an audience slump.

Insiders said Evans got fed up of media attacks on the revamped programme. He will continue presenting his Radio 2 show.

We talk to two people who have also walked away from careers and find out if, indeed, the grass was greener in their new jobs.

Jeff Meredith (47), who lives in Bangor, left a career in the Northern Ireland Civil Service to become a full-time blogger and stallholder selling his own artwork. He joined the Met Office just before his 21st birthday when it was still part of the Civil Service and worked there for 10 years before transferring to the Department of Finance and Personnel in 2001. "I had a few careers within the department over the next 10 years," he recalls.

"Initially, I worked in the salaries department and then moved to funding, before going on secondment to the Prince's Trust team programme recruiting young people through a course to give them some experience of what the real world of work is like.

"After that I went back into the department proper before leaving in October last year on a redundancy package."

Jeff says that he was always interested in blogging, even before the term became common parlance. "I used to go out a lot and would post my experiences of concerts, restaurants, cinemas or whatever online. I also dabbled in creating my own websites.

"But my main interest in blogging started in February 2011 when I founded the Belfast Times blog. This has evolved over the years and now I have a wide range of contributors. I am delighted that they take the time to give their views. Topics range from reviews, what's happening in Northern Ireland, lifestyle issues and beauty."

Around the same time he discovered a latent talent for art and started creating his own designs, which he sells from his stall at St George's Market in Belfast every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"I loved art at school but gave it up for languages and never had any formal training in it. Then it suddenly emerged again in my 40s - don't ask me where from - and one of my first designs was inspired by Andy Warhol. It was of the Samson and Goliath cranes.

"I then started dabbling in typography and that also seems to find an audience.

"It is lovely to be a trader in one of the UK's top markets and I make a living between the stall and the blog. You might say I have gone into this as a bit of a midlife crisis as I didn't want to be working behind an office desk until I retired at 60," he adds.

"I am loving what I am doing and hopefully it will continue."

Belfast Telegraph


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