The parents of a young farmer who took his own life were met with applause at the launch of a campaign to bring awareness to suicide prevention in rural communities.
Lynda and Andy Eadon from Warwickshire launched their campaign Len’s Light at the Kenilworth Agricultural Show last weekend (Saturday 3 June) in memory of their son Len.
Andy completed a lap of honour in his tractor around the show’s main event ring to a round of applause from show attendees for the couple’s work in raising awareness of suicide prevention.
Lynda said: “It is so important that everyone talks openly about how they are really feeling and to reach out for help when it is needed.
“People need to be willing to really listen to these conversations and to pick up on any concerns”.
An event space at the show called Len’s Village allowed people to take part in fun, farming-based competitions, talk about mental health in their communities and find out about support available.
The event raised more than £9,000 for charities including PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide and marks the start of a wider campaign which will see Andy Eadon drive a tractor from John O’Groats to Land’s End from 20 June – 20 July.
He will pass through agricultural shows and rural communities along the way to start conversations about suicide prevention in farming.
A beacon of light will be attached to the front of the tractor as a symbol of hope.
The couple also plan to launch an online petition to make mental health and farm safety statuary in all land-based agricultural colleges and universities.
PAPYRUS Community Development Officer, Jenny Simpson said: “It was a pleasure to be part of Len’s Village at the Kenilworth Show this year.
“There was a real buzz in the area and it encouraged young people from rural and farming communities to come together, share a laugh and talk openly about their mental health and lived experiences.
“Lynda and Andy are wonderful advocates of Papyrus, encouraging young people to speak openly and reach out for help if they are struggling, but they also raise vital funds that help our HOPELINE247 to operate and provide support to those struggling with thoughts of suicide.
“We know those in rural and farming communities can be at greater risk of dying by suicide, and the awareness raising that Lynda and Andy are doing will help to save young lives.”
You can follow the Len’s Light campaign here.
For confidential suicide prevention support and advice contact HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 07860839967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support is available for young people who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned about a young person.