'Naked farmer' plans cricket day for mental health charity
PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:13 25 April 2019
A Norfolk farmer battling both a terminal illness and severe depression is organising a fundraising cricket day in aid of the "amazing" mental health charity which is helping him.
Patrick Joice, who runs a poultry business at Uphouse Farm in South Raynham, near Fakenham, was told he had terminal cancer in March 2018.
And more bad news was to follow when the 45-year-old was diagnosed with severe depression – a condition he admits he initially “didn't believe in”.
He said he was eventually able to accept the help he needed thanks to the love and persistence of his wife Zanna, “who literally dragged me to the doctor”, and the confidential counselling of Norfolk-based farming mental health charity The YANA (You Are Not Alone) Project.
To repay that support, he is planning the Naked Farmer Cricket Day at Brisley Cricket Club on June 22 in aid of YANA.
The event is named in honour of the Australian Facebook page The Naked Farmer, where Mr Joice first revealed his story. It encourages farmers to post nude pictures of themselves and discuss their problems, on the basis that “it takes guts to get your gear off, as it takes guts to talk about mental health”.
He said the objectives of the cricket day are to raise awareness of mental health issues in agriculture, to generate some “serious funds” for YANA – and to have some fun in the process.
“Seeing how widespread the problem is in agriculture and just how many put a mask on everyday, I want to help raise awareness not only of mental health, but also the great work that YANA does and, in the process, raise money to help them undertake their amazing work,” he said.
READ MORE: 'Some good has to come out of this' – Terminally-ill farmer's defiant battle against depression
“Wonderful friends of ours came up with the suggestion of organising a charity cricket day. It's such a wonderful way to get the support of the farming community whilst doing something that we enjoy.”
The event is being organised by three English-Australian couples: Mr and Mrs Joice and their friends Chris and Lucy McKay, and Billy and Sara Fordham.
Mr Joice said raising awareness was equally important as generating cash, and he hopes other local companies will follow the example of TW Page Ltd, one of his farm's suppliers, which is adding YANA's contact details to its emails and van signage as a result of reading Mr Joice's story.
• The game is a ticket-only event, and ticket numbers will be limited. Donations can be made at the Naked Farmer Cricket Day fundraising page, and sponsors will be given the opportunity to advertise at the cricket ground. For more details contact email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.