A farmer who raised more than £50,000 for mental health charities has died, his family have announced.
Patrick Joice, also known as ‘the naked farmer’, helped to run a fundraising cricket match in Norfolk earlier this year, with the proceeds going to the You Are Not Alone (YANA) project for farmers.
YANA provides confidential support, mental health awareness and funding for counselling and mental health first aid courses for farming and rural communities in Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcestershire.
The Naked Farmer Cricket Day raised a staggering £53,000. The idea came from Chris and Lucy McKay, and Brett and Sara Fordham, who were keen supporters of the Brisley Cricket Club and friends of Patrick and his wife Zanna.
After being given a diagnosis of terminal cancer last year, Patrick suffered from depression. Determined that something positive would come out of his struggles, he shared his story by posting a picture to the Naked Farmer Facebook page.
Set up in Australia, the page offers farmers a platform for sharing their mental health stories – alongside a naked photo – on the basis that if you are brave enough to share a naked photo online, you are brave enough to talk about mental health problems.
Patrick died peacefully in his sleep on 19 September.
One of the project’s trustees, Melinda Raker, said: “It’s a phenomenal amount of money for YANA and we are incredibly grateful to Patrick, Zanna, Chris, Lucy, Brett and Sara.
“However, it is not just the funding. The enormous amount of publicity generated by Patrick and the event means that so many more people are willing to talk openly about their mental health and to seek help.”
She said the project has seen the number of calls to the helpline, and uptake of counselling double since the story broke.
“We have taken on another counsellor; next week we launch a Suicide Prevention Campaign and we have other plans to be unveiled next month.
“We are just so grateful to Patrick and Zanna for sharing their tragic story in such a selfless way in order that others might be helped. That is Patrick’s real legacy and his family, friends and the farming industry should be incredibly proud of this.”
Photo © Eastern Daily Press