Farming Champions Of The Year 2023 Named
NFU Community Farming Heroes Lynda and Andy Eadon were named as the NFU’s 2023 Farming Champions of the Year at the Farmers Weekly awards yesterday evening.
Since losing their son Len to suicide in January 2022, the couple have dedicated their time to raising awareness and support for rural mental health. Through their incredible campaign ‘Len’s Light’ they have raised more than £160,000 for the Farming Community Network, Farm Safety Foundation and Papyrus charities.
This campaign included driving a tractor 2,239 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End this summer, with a stop at the heart of Westminster in the Houses of Parliament, to spread the message that no one should feel alone in the UK’s rural communities.
As part of the campaign, they developed a Five A Day Challenge card to help open up the conversation around mental health which features five steps to help people take care of their mental wellbeing.
As a mark of the work and the impact they are having on this important issue, they received Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s daily Points of Light award.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “Lynda and Andy have made a tremendous impact and touched the hearts of many through the Len’s Light campaign. Not only have they raised awareness of mental health within farming and rural communities, but they have also raised vitally important funds which will be huge help in improving rural mental health support."
“Through this award we hope to shine a light on their bravery and resilience in the face of a devastating family tragedy and thank them for their tireless work in encouraging open conversations about achieving positive mental health within the farming community."
“It’s been a challenging year for many farmers across the country but Lynda and Andy have shown that no one in the farming community needs to face these challenges alone.”
Lynda Eadon said: “The award was totally unexpected and knocked us sideways. We were not expecting it at all. We have always said it is not just Andy and I, it is everyone who has supported us all the way along on this journey and we will be carrying on our work to shine a light on mental health issues in the rural community.”
Farmers Weekly editor Andrew Meredith said: "On behalf of the whole Farmers Weekly team I would like to pay tribute to Andy and Lynda for their selfless work that will leave a lasting impact on the whole farming industry. Their bravery in the face of such a catastrophic loss has left an impact on us all and it has been a privilege to help tell their story."