Napton parents plea for farming industry to step up awareness of mental health after death of much-loved son Leonard

Napton parents Andy and Lynda Eadon have issued a heartfelt plea to the farming industry to step up awareness of mental health after the loss of their only son.

Father and son - Andy and Leonard.
Father and son - Andy and Leonard.

As part of Farm Safety Week, the couple are supporting the Farm Safety Foundation, also known as Yellow Wellies, a charity dedicated to raising awareness of farm safety and mental wellbeing in farmers.

Earlier this year, their son Leonard, 22, took his own life.

Their son was a popular figure in the local community, and between his studies, often worked with his dad at the family business.

Andy and Lynda said: “If we can just stop one other person doing this… and the way we felt we could do that was to use our voices.”

The former Southam College student had his sights set on a career in agriculture having recently completed a degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.

Leonard’s parents decided that they needed to use this tragic event to prevent other people from going through similar experiences and with the support of Harper Adams University they were able to raise awareness.

The brave couple have released a moving video about their experience in the hope it will help other families.

They added: “So I devised the five a day challenge to keep yourself safe. Firstly, be honest with yourself and those around you. Secondly, talk openly about daily challenges and be prepared to listen. Thirdly, care for yourself as you care for others. Fourth, contact that person you’ve been telling yourself you should and fifth, plan for the unexpected and make the right choices.

“I want people to keep talking about it and keep remembering him and realise, they need to understand how they’re feeling themselves.”

Figures released this week from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Fatal Injuries in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing in GB Report 2021/22*, show that a decade after the first Farm Safety Week campaign, agriculture continues to have the poorest safety record in the UK and Ireland.

During Farm Safety Week, the Farm Safety Foundation are highlighting some of the key issues facing the farming community.

Stephanie Berkeley, Farm Safety Foundation manager: “Far too many farmers and farm workers suffer life-changing injury, lifelong chronic illness and poor mental health in the industry and we all have a role to play in making the changes we all want to see. Together, we can make our farms safer places to live and to work.”

Visit www.yellowwellies.org or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek