Suffolk farmer built bale grab to raise awareness of prostate cancer

A Suffolk farmer with a passion for building agricultural equipment has taken on the challenge of constructing a bale grab to raise awareness of prostate cancer in the farming community. 

Simon Hayter from Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, built bale grab to raise awareness of prostate cancer and support Prostate Cancer UK charity.
Simon Hayter and revd Emma Barr.

Simon Hayter said that the idea for the unique project came to him just after he received his own unfortunate diagnosis in October 2022.  

The 71-year-old farmer from Stoke-by-Nayland added: “I had one or two components left from my previous project but didn’t get around to doing anything. When I got the prostate cancer diagnosis, one evening, I just suddenly thought that I should finish the grab in aid of a prostate cancer charity. 

“When I got to a certain stage in building it, I contacted Prostate Cancer UK. They were very enthusiastic about my idea, so here we are today.” 

Unique piece 

Mr Hayter said it took him about a year to build the bale grab, which is a one-off piece of equipment covered in the charity’s colours. 

Bale grab constructed by Simon Hayter.

“I don’t intend to make another one of these, but I’m going to do something else and keep this going because I’m enjoying it. But mostly, I enjoy life,” he added. 

Mr Hayter also highlighted the importance of examining your health, even when you do not have any symptoms of a possible illness. 

No symptoms 

He said: “I didn’t experience any pain that could be a sign of prostate cancer. The only thing I noticed was that I had to get up to wee quite a few times during the night.   

“That’s the only symptom I had. I left it for a year and didn’t do anything about it. So now, after receiving my diagnosis, I’d like to spread awareness of prostate cancer, especially among men over the age of 55-60. 

“You need to get tested because prostate cancer is a silent killer. I’m lucky as I’ve had all the treatment, and hopefully, I’m OK. I’ve been very well looked after. I must stress that the NHS has been brilliant, can’t criticise them at all. 

“It’s so important to get diagnosed quickly because if you leave it too late, then you’re not going to survive. Livestock farmers in particular are at risk, as they’re always busy and never get time to worry about themselves.” 

Mr Hayter hopes to sell the bale grab in a raffle, with proceeds going to Prostate Cancer UK. 

L-R: Revd Emma Barr, Simon Hayter and George Long.

Vital funds for the charity 

Seren Evans, head of events and community fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “We’re so excited to have worked with Simon to create a branded bale grab to raise awareness of prostate cancer in the farming community. When approached with such a unique idea, we just had to get involved.  

L-R: George Long of Oliver Landpower, Aleksandra Cupriak of Farmers Guide, Lily Stock and Simon Hayter.

“We’re also so grateful that the branded bale grab will be auctioned off to raise vital funds for Prostate Cancer UK. They will go towards scientific research, to stop prostate cancer damaging the lives of men and their loved ones.  

“We thank Simon and all our supporters alike, who continuously make such huge efforts to help save lives.” 

Supported by friends and community 

While working on the project, Mr Hayter was also supported by his friend Lily Stock and a local company, Oliver Landpower

Ms Stock said: “I’ve known Simon since I was a child. He used to organise many activities for local children. 

“I bumped into him once and said he had a little job for me. I obviously agreed because it seemed very exciting. I had a chance to drive the JCB, which I love, and at the same time help my friend. 

“I have a lot of respect for Simon for what he’s done. He’s a hard-working farmer, he does it all on his own. He’s always very positive and happy.” 

Lily Stock driving a JCB.

Oliver Landpower’s field sales manager, George Long, added: “When Simon came in to us and said he was building a bale grab to raise money for a charity close to his heart, we were very happy to support him.  

“We supplied Simon with some brackets to go on the grab, which are fabricated and could be interchangeable. So, if it does go to someone who doesn’t have this JBQ fit, it could just be swapped out and put on another set of brackets.  

“We also supplied paint to make sure that the brackets matched the headstock, and spent some time making sure that the grab works properly.”  

Lily Stock driving JCB with the bale grab constructed by Mr Hayter.

About prostate cancer 

  • 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer, making it the most common cancer in men.   
  • You’re at an even higher risk if your dad or brother had it, or if you’re black, or over 50.  
  • When it comes to prostate cancer, the best time to act is now. The earlier you find it, the easier it is to treat. 

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer may contact Prostate Cancer UK’s Specialist Nurses in confidence. Call 0800 074 8383 or access online via the Live Chat instant messaging service:

The Specialist Nurse phone service is free to landlines and open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays. 10am to 5pm on Wednesdays.    

Check your prostate cancer risk in just 30 seconds here – it could save your life.    

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