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Much-loved Norfolk farmer leaves a 'lasting legacy' of mental health awareness

PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:36 26 September 2019

Norfolk farmer and mental health campaigner Patrick Joice pictured at his Naked Farmer charity cricket day in June, which raised £53,000 for farming charity YANA. Picture: Chris Hill

Norfolk farmer and mental health campaigner Patrick Joice pictured at his Naked Farmer charity cricket day in June, which raised £53,000 for farming charity YANA. Picture: Chris Hill

Archant

A new mental health campaign being launched next weekend is part of the "lasting legacy" of openness and awareness created by a terminally-ill Norfolk farmer.

Norfolk farmer and fundraiser Patrick Joice has left a 'lasting legacy' of mental awareness after losing his battle with cancer. Picture: Sonya DuncanNorfolk farmer and fundraiser Patrick Joice has left a 'lasting legacy' of mental awareness after losing his battle with cancer. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Patrick Joice, a poultry producer from South Raynham, near Fakenham, died last Thursday at the age of 46 after a courageous battle against cancer.

Despite his terminal diagnosis and the devastating depression which followed, Mr Joice vowed that some good should come from his situation and devoted his energy to helping the Norfolk-based farming mental health charity which supported him - the YANA (You Are Not Alone) Project.

His "Naked Farmer" charity cricket match at Brisley in June generated £53,000 for the cause, some of which has been used to design and print information cards for a suicide prevention campaign due to be launched at the Harvest Festival at Norwich Cathedral on Sunday, October 6.

And the charity expects to announce more plans to "enhance its work" in future, which will also be a direct result of the popular farmer's fundraising.

But YANA patron Melinda Raker said Mr Joice's enduring legacy would extend far beyond the huge sums of money he raised.

"The money was absolutely wonderful, but more importantly Patrick has encouraged more people to come forward to talk about their mental health and to ask for help," she said.

"In the last six months, there have been more calls to our helpline which have already resulted in double the amount of counselling that we provided in the whole of last year. A lot of that is down to Patrick's openness to encourage more people to come forward and talk about mental health.

"This is Patrick's legacy to the farming community, and it can be a lasting legacy. It can carry on for a long time, and YANA has other plans to enhance its work as a result of his fundraising."

READ MORE: Inspirational 'Naked Farmer' Patrick Joice dies after cancer battle

Among the many farming figures across the country who paid tribute to Mr Joice was National Farmers' Union president Minette Batters, who described him as "an incredible man", adding: "Patrick with his wife Zanna really did make a difference to so many people's lives. His legacy will live on with us all."

- 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.

- A service of thanksgiving for Mr Joice will be held at St Mary's Church, East Raynham, at 2pm on Monday, September 30. The family requests no flowers, but donations for YANA may be given at the service or sent c/o Fakenham and District Funeral Services Ltd, Weasenham Manor, Weasenham St. Peter, PE32 2TF (01328 838838).

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