YFC Support Tractor Run to Raise Awareness of Mental Health

Jul 13, 2023  •  General

Young Farmers’ Clubs across England and Wales have been supporting the Len’s Light Tractor Relay that is raising awareness of mental health in rural communities as it travels from John O’ Groats to Land’s End.

Len’s Light was launched in June this year by Lynda and Andy Eadon in memory of their son Len Eadon, a Warwickshire YFC member, who took his own life in January 2022. The Eadons are working with the Farming Community Network, the Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies) and Papyrus to raise awareness and funds to support farmers’ mental health.

The tractor relay began at John O’Groats on 20 June, with a specially designed beacon on the front of the tractor lighting up the route and will cover 2,000 miles. Their aim is to shine a spotlight on how mental health can affect those in rural communities and help break down stigma surrounding mental health in the farming sector.

The relay has stopped at livestock markets, machinery depots and met Young Farmers’ Clubs around the UK to spark conversations around mental health with farmers and others living in rural communities. It has also raised awareness at large agricultural events including the Royal Highland Show and even visited the Houses of Parliament where the tractor was driven by former NFYFC Chair and now Farming Minister Mark Spencer.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said:  “It’s hugely important that we raise awareness of the mental health impacts in farming and rural communities, and I’d like to pay tribute to all those charities and individuals, including Lynda and Andy, who are working tirelessly to bring this to light.”

The relay comes as the Farm Safety Foundation recently surveyed 450 UK farmers under the age of 40 and found that 94% of them agreed poor mental health is one of the biggest hidden problems facing the industry today – up from 84% three years ago.

Andy and Lynda Eadon, Founders of Len’s Light, said:  “Len’s Light is a nationwide journey reaching out to everyone in the rural community with the message that no one in the rural community should feel isolated and alone.

“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.

“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.”

The final leg of the relay will take place at Land’s End on 23 July.

FCN volunteers understand farming life and its unique stresses, and can be contacted in confidence 365 days of the year on 03000 111 999 or help@fcn.org.uk.