The Stratford and South Warwickshire NFU members launched ‘Len’s Light’ in memory of their son Len, a young farmer who took his own life at the age of 22 in January 2022, as a national awareness campaign on the mental health issues that affect people in the rural community.
The initiative aims to shine a spotlight on how mental health can affect those in rural communities, as well as helping to break down the stigma surrounding mental health in the farming sector, and to ensure that no-one in the rural community feels isolated or alone.
So far, over £150,000 has been raised for suicide prevention and farming charities. The farming community has engaged with ‘Len’s Light’ and more and more charitable events are being put on across the country which are not only raising more vital funds but, even more importantly, keeping people talking about mental health issues and looking out for each other.
“I’m delighted that Lynda and Andy are receiving this well-deserved award in recognition of their tireless work to draw attention to mental health challenges in rural communities.”
Farming Minister, Mark Spencer MP
Andy and Lynda are the 2136th and 2137th recipients of the Points of Light award, which was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a positive change within their community and inspiring others. Each weekday, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
The award for Andy and Lynda came ahead of Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September, a day to raise awareness of, and to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent, suicides.
Shining a light on mental health
Earlier this summer, the couple travelled 2,229 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a tractor provided by John Deere, meeting rural communities throughout Scotland, England and Wales, spreading the message 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.
Over 20,000 have been distributed to date, predominantly to young farmers and have also been made available in many livestock markets for farmers to pick up.
‘A real achievement in raising awareness of mental health’
Farming Minister Mark Spencer said he was delighted that Andy and Lynda are receiving this award “in recognition of their tireless work to draw attention to mental health challenges in rural communities”.
He added: “Poor mental health is sadly one of the biggest hidden problems facing the farming industry today and we must continue to do all we can to break down the stigma surrounding mental health in the farming community and ensure everyone has access to the support they need.”
Congratulating them on their award, Sir Jeremy Wright, Andy and Lynda’s local MP for Kenilworth and Southam spoke on how he was delighted to see further “well-deserved recognition” for all they are doing.
He said: “Andy and Lynda Eadon have turned personal tragedy into real help as hope for others. The journey of ‘Len’s Light’ by tractor throughout the UK has been a real achievement in raising awareness of mental health in rural communities, particularly among the young.”
Lynda said: “Andy and I feel honoured but humbled to have been chosen as recipients of the Point of Light Award. The work we have undertaken in Len’s name has been driven by the need to get people, especially youngsters, in the rural community talking about mental health issues. In particular that of suicide following the tragic loss of our son Leonard at the age of 22.”