Len’s Light shines on through launch of new scholarship

04 June 2024

Andy and Lynda Eadon in front of a tree

The FCN (Farming Community Network) has joined forces with Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust to launch a scholarship focusing on the health and wellbeing of the farming community.

The FCN/Len’s Light Nuffield Farming Scholarship is inspired by Warwickshire farmers and NFU members Andy and Lynda Eadon, whose son Len took his own life in January 2022.

They have since made it their mission to raise awareness of the challenges of mental health in rural and farming communities and to ensure that nobody feels alone.

The scholarship will sponsor Nuffield Scholars focusing on topics that:

  • support people in farming and rural communities
  • help to address issues of loneliness and isolation
  • explore health inequalities in farming / rural communities; or
  • encourage a positive mindset and help to build resilience.

Applications must be submitted online before before 31 July. Apply now.

‘No one in the rural community should feel alone’

On the launch of the scholarship, Andy and Lynda said: “Since the tragic loss of our son Len in 2022 we have become passionate to engage, particularly with young people in the rural community.

“Highlighting the importance of understanding their own mental health and the need to be honest, open and talk.

“We continually talk about ‘positive’ mental health to try to reduce the stigma that the words ‘mental health’ have.

No one in the rural community should feel alone and isolated.”

NFU members Andy and Lynda Eadon

“No one in the rural community should feel alone and isolated, and this new scholarship has the ability to shine a light brighter and wider on the complex issues that impact on everyone’s mental health.”

Andy and Lynda thanked the FCN and Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust for their support “and for acknowledging Len’s Light, and thus contributing to the legacy we are trying to leave in his name”.

Rupert Alers-Hankey, Director, Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, said mental health and wellbeing is “consistently cited as one of the biggest challenges facing the industry” adding that it is hoped the scholarship will “build further knowledge and pave the way for positive change in this area”.

FCN Chief Exec Dr Jude McCann said the scholarship was an “important opportunity to focus on health, wellbeing and resilience”. 

Len's Light campaign

NFU Deputy President David Exwood said the news was “brilliant”, describing Andy and Lynda as “tireless advocates for mental health in farming”.

Their work was recognised when they were named NFU Farming Champions of the Year in 2023 and Community Farming Heroes in 2022.

“This scholarship is a testament to their hard work, bravery and resilience in the face of a devastating family tragedy to promote talking about mental health and reducing stigma in the farming community,” David added.

“The NFU, along with others in the sector, have also made strides in addressing this very difficult subject. By starting conversations and supporting initiatives like this scholarship, we can make a real difference and ensure no one in the farming community feels alone.”

The national Len’s Light campaign has been raising funds for the FCN, Yellow Wellies and PAPYRUS (prevention of young suicide).

Last year saw Andy hit the road on a nationwide tractor drive from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a ‘Len’s Light tractor relay’ to show that no-one should feel alone or isolated in the UK’s rural communities.

Andy and Lynda have also produced a ‘5 A Day Checklist’ that people can readily refer to each day. This has been produced as a ‘credit card’ size that fits easily into a wallet or purse and has helpline numbers on the reverse.

For anyone who has been affected by Len Eadon's story, help is available. Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, or visit their website to find the nearest branch.

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