WATCH: Inflatable walkers raise a laugh for serious message

Hippos, dragons and unicorns were among those out of puff after an inflatable walk for mental health.

Councillor Julian Raymond-Sandy, one of the organisers, in the large grey dinosaur suit, was joined by Carys Storer Jones and Ffion Wright-Evans
Councillor Julian Raymond-Sandy, one of the organisers, in the large grey dinosaur suit, was joined by Carys Storer Jones and Ffion Wright-Evans

Young farmers blew up their outfits and then pounded the streets in The Big Inflatable Walk for the DPJ Foundation, to raise awareness of mental health issues in agriculture.

The group trekked the three miles, from Bwlch y Cibau to Llanfyllin, in Mid Wales, in a variety of wacky costumes.

Ffion Wright-Evans, from the Llanfyllin Young Farmers Club, said: "We had quite a few people watching so it was good to put smiles on faces. We had quite a few unicorns as well as horses, hippos, an avocado, a dragon and a shark.

WATCH the inflatable walkers in action:

"It was mainly to raise awareness for mental health but we had quite a few donations. We've raised over £1,000 without even really trying, which we're really grateful for."

Sian Lewis, chairwoman of the club, added: “Covid-19 has had a real impact on people feeling lonely, particularly in our rural communities. The pandemic started during lambing which was already a lonely and isolating time for farmers.

"When the lockdown began, it prolonged the feeling for many in the farming community.

"The Big Inflatable Walk was a fantastic opportunity for us as a group of young people in rural Montgomeryshire to work with the local community, and not only do what YFC do best, which includes dressing up and making a fool of ourselves, but to also highlight a massive issue that doesn’t get spoken about enough in the agricultural community, mental health."

Kate Miles, the DPJ Foundation manager, said she was grateful for the support and urged farm and agricultural workers to use its Share The Load 24/7 confidential helpline for mental health support if they needed it.

“Share the Load gives farmers and their families the opportunity to speak to someone non-judgmental and who will understand them," she said.

"It is staffed by trained volunteers who either come from a farming background or have a good understanding of farming.

"We can also provide fast access to qualified counsellors for those who need it. Most of the funding for this service comes from donations and we are so grateful for the continued support that we have received from the farming community this year.

For support, contact Share the Load on 0800 5874262.

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