Naked Farmer charity cricket day raises awareness and funds for rural mental health issues

A charity cricket day organised by a Norfolk farmer who suffered depression after being diagnosed with terminal cancer has raised a huge total so far.

The Naked Farmer’s event at Brisley on Saturday has so far raised £43,000 for The YANA (You Are Not Alone) Project that helps farmers cope with mental health issues.

According to the Eastern Daily Press, around 300 people attended the event, which was organised by three English-Australian couples: Patrick and his wife Zanna and their friends Chris and Lucy McKay, and Billy and Sara Fordham.

Patrick Joice has been helped through his mental health issues by his wife Zanna and YANA, who he has been on a mission to raise awareness of and support financially.

Mr Joice’s team of farmers won the 20-over match by two runs. Afterwards, he said he was overwhelmed by how the day had gone.

“The fundraising in itself was unbelievable, but the day has beaten all expectations – and we’ve had a great game of cricket,” he told the EDP. “When we started all this, the idea was to raise awareness of mental health in agriculture, raise some money for YANA and have some fun while doing so. I think we have done all those things.”

Naked farmer cricket 2The cricket day has raised £43,000 from sponsorship, shirt sales and tickets since the idea originated in March – and with fundraising continuing after the event Mr Joice is confident it will top £50,000.

Mr Joice, who is 45, has been inundated with calls, letters and emails from people who had been inspired to open up about their mental health.

“The one thing that has been common among all these messages and phone calls is that by putting my naked butt on the internet and talking about all the issues we have been going through, it has helped others to start to talk about the issues they are going through – and communication really helps.

“So even if it is not ringing YANA for support, just talking with your family and friends is important, keep that family close. They all said the same thing. It helps.”

YANA patron Melinda Raker said: “Patrick is unusual because he is male, he is in farming and he has talked about mental health,” she said. “12 years ago before YANA was set up, I think that would have been unheard of in Norfolk.

Former NPA chairman Richard Longthorp, who knows Patrick personally, described mental health as ‘a very live problem’ in agriculture and urged the pig sector to support his brave initiative.

“Patrick would feel uncomfortable if I told him this but he is genuinely one of life’s great guys,” he wrote in a recent article on the NPA website. “Great company, vibrant, energetic, very successful in his business but incredibly modest and unassuming at the same time. Exactly the sort of bloke you would turn to if you needed help yourself.

“Patrick’s is but one sad but nevertheless inspiring example of the issue of Mental Health. But he is one of the few who has been strong enough and brave enough to bare it all in public – literally as well as metaphorically! I would therefore ask that you support Patrick in his fundraising efforts.”

Donations can still be made via the Naked Farmer Cricket Day page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com.

The YANA (You Are Not Alone) Project offers confidential mental health support and counselling for those in farming and rural industries in Norfolk and Suffolk. Contact the helpline on 0300 323 0400 or email johoey@yanahelp.org

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.