2136. Andy Eadon
2137. Lynda Eadon
Andy and Lynda Eadon, from Warwickshire, have been raising awareness of suicide amongst farming and agricultural communities after their son Len, a young farmer, took his own life at the age of 22 in January 2022.
They launched ‘Len’s Light’ in memory of their son, 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.
After the loss of Len, Andy and Lynda 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.
Earlier this summer, the couple undertook ‘Len’s Light Tractor Relay’, which covered 2239 miles, meeting rural communities throughout Scotland, England and Wales and, while in Edinburgh, completed a section of fellow Point of Light, Mike McCarthy’s Baton of Hope tour. On 6 July, as part of the Relay, the Farming Minister Mark Spencer drove the tractor around Parliament Square, into the Houses of Parliament, making it the first tractor to enter the gates, The Relay journey was started in John O’Groats on 20th June and concluded at Lands End on 20th July.
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.
The award for Andy and Lynda comes ahead of Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September, a day to raise awareness of, and to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent, suicides.
Mark Spencer MP, Farming Minister, said:
“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 – in particular the recent ‘Len’s Light Tractor Relay’ where I joined them as they brought the issue to Parliament’s door.
“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 Andy and Lynda on their award, Sir Jeremy Wright, Andy and Lynda’s local MP for Kenilworth and Southam, 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. It has been a privilege to support them in their efforts and I am delighted to see this further well-deserved recognition for all they are doing.”
“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.”
See more about “Len’s Light”
(Pictured from left to right, Farming Minister Mark Spencer, Andy Eadon, Lynda Eadon, NFU President Minette Batters and Sir Jeremy Wright MP. Picture by DEFRA comms)