NFU Community Farming Heroes Lynda and Andy Eadon have marked the next stage of Len's Light Tractor Relay which saw them travel to Parliament Square, with Farming Minister Mark Spencer taking the wheel to drive the tractor around the square and into the Houses of Parliament.
The Stratford and South Warwickshire NFU members’ son, Len, lost his life to suicide on New Year’s Day 2022. This summer, having already raised more than £100,000 for charity, Andy has hit the road on a nationwide tractor drive from John O’Groats to Land’s End to show that no-one should feel alone or isolated in the UK’s rural communities.
'Talking, listening and honesty'
“Len’s Light Tractor Relay would not have started if we had not reached out for support from Sir Jeremy Wright MP, Mark Spencer MP, Stephanie Berkeley from the Farm Safety Foundation, and the NFU team – especially Minette Batters and George Bostock," the couple said.
“With the help of everyone, we will continue to talk about positive mental health in the rural community which hinges around talking, listening and honesty.”
Lynda and Andy met NFU President Minette Batters earlier in June, ahead of the mammoth next leg of their mental health campaign.
Minette said: “Andy and Lynda have done some significant work in seeking to improve support for mental health in farming following a terrible family tragedy. Len’s Light has our full support and we wish them well as they embark on their continued journey to spread the message and raise awareness.
“The NFU and others within the farming community have also made strides to talk openly about this very difficult subject and just starting the conversation makes a huge difference, alongside young and old being able to recognise the signs and symptoms of someone who is struggling.
“Together we can make a difference and support one another.”
Len’s Light, a front-mounted tractor beacon made by Len’s friends, will adorn the tractor, provided by John Deere, as Andy travels from the top of Scotland down to the tip of Cornwall, stopping at many livestock markets along the route to meet and talk to people.
How can I support the relay?
Len’s Light was unveiled close to Lynda and Andy’s farm at the Kenilworth Show, where a number of activities to raise awareness and remember Len took place. Lynda and Andy have dedicated their lives to creating greater mental health awareness among young people involved in farming.
Funds donated to the campaign will be split across three charities: Farming Community Network, the Farm Safety Foundation and Papyrus. You can donate via the dedicated fundraising page here.
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.
Further regional wellbeing support can also be found on the pages linked below.