Andy and Lynda Eadon of Napton, Warwickshire, are the 2023 Farmers Weekly Farming Champion of the 12 months.
Andy and Lynda have made a profound distinction to the best way individuals within the countryside take into consideration psychological well being and have raised an unlimited quantity for charity.
The Warwickshire farming couple started this work after their son Len – a gifted and widespread 22-year-old – took his personal life on New 12 months’s Day 2022.
See additionally: The Farmers Weekly Awards 2022 Farming Champion of the 12 months
Regardless of discovering themselves in an unimaginable state of affairs, they determined to do every part of their energy to stop what occurred to them taking place to different households.
With enormous braveness, drive and selflessness, they set about bettering psychological well being consciousness amongst younger individuals and elevating funds for 3 essential charities:
- Farming Neighborhood Community
- Farm Security Basis (also called Yellow Wellies)
- Papyrus, the nationwide charity for the prevention of younger suicides.
They obtained prime minister Rishi Sunak’s Factors of Gentle award, recognising excellent particular person volunteers and people making a change of their group and provoking others.
Amongst their many endeavours was launching a 5-a-Day psychological well being problem, for which they created wallet-sized playing cards printed with recommendation akin to encouraging individuals to speak overtly. Greater than 18,000 of those playing cards have been distributed.
This summer time, their efforts centred on an unbelievable tractor journey – travelling greater than 2,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s Finish – to highlight how psychological well being can have an effect on these in rural communities, to assist break down the stigma surrounding it and to share the message that nobody want really feel remoted or alone.
The tractor was fitted with a front-mounted beacon – and this impressed the identify of their ongoing marketing campaign, Len’s Gentle, which shines a light-weight on psychological well being and suicide points.
Among the many stop-off factors had been livestock markets, nation reveals, the Homes of Parliament, the Farmers’ Membership and Harper Adams College the place Len had studied.
“Our objective has all the time been to depart a legacy for Len, and we hope that Len’s Gentle can be greater than an unbelievable spectacle, however immediate a wider, ongoing dialog round psychological well being in agriculture,” Andy mentioned.
“If we are able to cease one household going via what we did, and are persevering with to undergo, then it’ll have been value it,” he added.
By the point the Eadons arrived in Cornwall, their marketing campaign had raised greater than £115,000, with extra donations arriving day by day via the summer time.
In addition they inspired hundreds of individuals, who noticed the relay as a “beacon of hope”, to start out conversations with neighbours, buddies or relations about psychological well being points.
Making a distinction
“Initiatives like this by Lynda and Andy – underneath essentially the most tragic of circumstances – actually do make a distinction,” mentioned Stephanie Berkeley, supervisor of the Farm Security Basis.
Jude McCann, chief govt of the Farming Neighborhood Community, mentioned: “Andy and Lynda and the Len’s Gentle marketing campaign are carrying a significant message of assist that’s resonating with farmers and other people dwelling in rural communities throughout the UK.
“None of us ought to really feel alone – we’re a part of a supportive group that’s right here to pay attention, assist and assist.”
The tractor relay concluded in Land’s Finish on 20 July however, because the Eadons identified, the journey didn’t finish there. They vowed to maintain working, in Len’s reminiscence, on this very important trigger.
Lynda and Andy have devoted their lives to producing larger psychological well being consciousness amongst younger individuals in farming – and can undoubtedly save lives.
Their outstanding efforts are a becoming tribute to Len.
What makes the Eadons our winners
- Serving to scale back the stigma surrounding psychological well being
- Elevating funds for essential charities
- Selfless and brave dedication
The Farmers Weekly 2023 Farming Champion of the 12 months Award is sponsored by the NFU
“Regardless of many worthy contenders this 12 months, there will be no higher winners than Andy and Lynda Eadon.
“Few of us can think about what they’ve been via, however their response to Leonard’s tragic passing has been unbelievable.
“They determined that their job was to do all they may in Len’s reminiscence, to make sure that this didn’t occur to different farming households.
“Their tireless campaigning is testomony to their selflessness, drive and bravado and is matched solely by their compassion for his or her fellow farmers and their households.
“They’re really extraordinary individuals, and the legacy of excellent they’re constructing in Len’s reminiscence will profit numerous others in our trade.”
Minette Batters, NFU president