PUB staff swapped roles for a special night of fund-raising in memory of a young Warwickshire regular who took his own life.
A dining experience fund-raiser at The Red Lion in Hellidon clocked up nearly £1,000 and marks the first in a series of events in aid of three mental health and suicide charities.
The ‘Turning Tables’ event invited customers to be wined and dined as part of a topsy-turvy evening of hospitality where front of house staff swapped roles with kitchen staff.
Proceeds from the night, and two more events to follow, will be divided between PAPYRUS, The Farm Safety Foundation and The Farming Community Network.
The causes were nominated by the family of former Southam college student Leonard Eadon, who took his own on New Year’s Day.
The only child of Andy and Lynda Eadon, the 22-year-old was a popular figure in the community and, between his studies, often worked with his dad at the family business, F L Eadon & Son Farm, in Southam.
Andy and Lynda said: “Losing our son, Len, as we did, and at such a young age was a massive shock. It has left an equally large void. We have also seen so many of his friends who are hurting badly and are shocked by what happened.
“We decided, early on, that we need to do something to try to prevent other parents, families and friends from going through a similar, dreadful experience.
“The response from the local farming community, and wider, was immediate and so very heart warming. Of course it will never replace our fantastic, caring, humorous and loving son and friend. But knowing others care and hearing their tales of shared experiences and laughter with him goes a long way.
“Len enjoyed meals and drinks with his friends at the Red Lion. They have kindly set up some amazing fund-raising events in March and April to help support Len’s legacy. We are touched and very grateful to them, their customers and everyone who has made donations.”
The former student also had his sights set on a career in agriculture having recently completed a degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams University in Shropshire.
Len’s funeral took place on what would have been his 23rd birthday, February 14.
He enjoyed various hobbies including drumming, sports and clay pigeon shooting as well as being a talented mechanic. And his funeral procession included a Land Rover which he’d recently rebuilt from scratch with his best friend.
Len’s uncle, Larry James, who is helping with the fund-raising campaign, said: “It’s been an absolutely unbearable time. It’s really hard to grieve. Firstly because of the shock, you’re thinking it can’t be possible. Secondly, you can’t work out why he did it and will probably never know, and thirdly, constantly asking yourself, what could I have done? It’s the same for all his friends and family.
“I spoke to him the evening before he went out with a friend to a New Year’s Eve party and everything seemed fine. This sadly shows the importance of young people opening up about their fears and worries. It is okay to say ‘all is not okay’ and to ask for help.”
Since opening the fund-raising campaign a few weeks ago, the family have already raised more than £18,000 for the charities.
PAPYRUS aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by encouraging open conversation around suicide and equipping young people and communities with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.
The Farm Safety Foundation is a Stratford-based charity dedicated to raising awareness of farm safety and mental wellbeing in farmers while The Farming Community Network is a voluntary organisation supporting farming families with a focus on preventing suicide.
Red Lion manager Jane Hearsay said: “What a fantastic night was had by all for our Turning Tables evening. An incredible evening where roles were reversed, the front of house served up a treat out of the kitchen, served excellently by our kitchen team!
“A huge thank you to everyone who attended and also those who supported with donations from afar for truly amazing charities.”
The next event being hosted by The Red Lion is a Chilli & Quiz Night, on Sunday, April 17. Tickets are £10 each, available from the pub.
An Easter raffle will also be drawn on the same evening, all proceeds being added to the total pot.
The family are planning an event in celebration of Leonard’s life on June 5 at Stoneleigh Park Estate, in Kenilworth. The day will be themed around farming in the community and will include agricultural competitions, Best Scarecrow Fancy Dress and sporting competitions.
Donations can also be made via: https://leneadon.muchloved.com/ where there is also further information about other events being planned in Len’s memory.