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British Farming Awards 2019 – Farming Hero Award – Emma Picton-Jones

When I left university I was lucky enough to go travelling And when I came back I met Dan Things kind of developed and we started a relationship Not long after moving in together
we found out I was pregnant with Mallie That’s when things really started to
change. He’d gone from being this quite cool and calm character to all of a sudden being extremely anxious I quite often describe him as as being this
person who’s on this roller coaster but the roller coaster never really got to
the top. Things took a bit of a you know nasty turn then come July 2016
I woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning and he hadn’t come home and I just I
just had this like gut feeling I knew where he was I knew that he’d probably
gone back to where he’d grown up As I drove down the lane and came round the corner, I was greeted by several police cars Dan had taken a decision to end his life So then like everything happened that is supposed to happen when somebody dies and the police came down to take a statement And they came down with a letter. Something was written in it which really just kind of stuck with me And it was “you weren’t able to help me. But you can try to help somebody else” I remember sitting down one evening with a minister and he said to me, why don’t you do something? And I was like, you know what actually, I think I’ll do that The DPJ Foundation was set up in
July 2016 We need to get support out in the community. But getting them to
actually go out and get help is really difficult So in my head I thought rather than waiting for them to get help, let’s just take the help out to them Because when I went through the GP, I got in touch with a counselling service and it was a nine-month waiting list And I remember thinking that was not
really good enough So I was like right, we need to do something about this So I set up a counseling referral service specifically for people in the farming community Volunteers answer the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week because farming isnt 9 till 5 As a volunteer I work as part of a team where we man the ‘share the load’ telephone lines I volunteered at some of the shows And what I really noticed was the amount of the older generation of farmers that have actually come to have a chat with me A number of them just kind of opened up and said I think it’s amazing what
you’re doing and you know this happened to me 40/50 years ago and those stories are amazing And I think that for me is why we do what we do Its been a busy 3 years and we’ve had a lot going on. Being part of these things has been amazing for me and especially receiving a points of light award from the Prime Minister and I was
fortunate enough to be part of the Pride of Britain Awards as well which was just amazing and you know on top of this have been to numerous shows and events all
over all over Wales really and it’s been a fantastic three years You often find when tragedy hits a community that’s when you see the best part
of a community when they pull together Unfortunately it’s taken my tragedy but
it’s brought a community together a whole massive community of people
together to support each other and thats what we need to do. To date we have helped over 125 farmers across Wales. So when you look at the suicide rate that one farmer a week in Wales is killing themselves That’s 52 farmers a year, and we’ve managed to help over 120 in the last 18 months Hopefully we are doing something a bit right

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