London Marathon runner supporting FCN to raise awareness of mental health in farming

A keen runner is supporting The Farming Community Network (FCN) charity and raising awareness of mental health in agriculture by competing in this year’s London Marathon (Sunday 3 October).

Ian Oliver (known to friends as ‘Olly’), Hatchery Manager – Kentisbeare with P.D. Hook Hatcheries Ltd, will be donning his running shoes later this year following an intense period of training. Olly will be 52 when he runs the marathon.

While Olly has run half marathons before, this will be the first time he’s run a full marathon.

Olly said: “As we all know, farming can be a job of solitude a lot of the time and the last 18 months have been especially hard on many people. I have personally had family members who have experienced mental ill-health and understand the challenges that can come with farming. FCN helps out farmers and their families in so many ways. It is an honour to have this opportunity to run the London Marathon in support of a charity that means so much to our industry.”

FCN is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times. FCN provides free practical and pastoral support, and its confidential, national Helpline (03000 111 999) is open every day of the year from 7am to 11pm.

Each year FCN supports approximately 6,000 people with a wide range of issues, including mental health, family disputes, animal welfare and planning for the future.

During the pandemic, FCN has seen an increase in the number of calls to its Helpline containing a mental health component, including stress, anxiety and depression.

Olly’s marathon run follows Adrian Rushby’s last year – Olly’s manager at P.D. Hook who ran the London Marathon remotely in support of FCN during the pandemic, swapping the streets of London for the winding and hilly roads of the Cotswolds.

Alex Phillimore, Marketing and Communications Manager with FCN, said: “We are very grateful to Olly and the entire P.D. Hook team for supporting FCN in the London Marathon. Many within the farming community are worried about the future and changes across our industry. We need to ensure farmers have access to the best support available now and into the future. FCN volunteers understand farming life and are here to listen, support you and connect you with help available.  

“Fundraising efforts such as Olly’s really do make a huge difference and help us to continue providing our services across England and Wales to those most in need. We wish Olly the best of luck during the London Marathon later this year.”

You can access Olly’s JustGiving page here:

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