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100 artworks in 100 days: Artist's challenge to help farming mental health charity

PUBLISHED: 07:46 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 07:46 22 August 2019

Artist Kate Batchelor will complete 100 drawings in 100 days to raise money for the mental health charity YANA (You Are Not Alone) which supports farming communities. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Artist Kate Batchelor will complete 100 drawings in 100 days to raise money for the mental health charity YANA (You Are Not Alone) which supports farming communities. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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The East Anglian countryside is providing a poignant palette for an artist's bid to complete 100 illustrations in 100 days to help a farming mental health charity.

Suffolk artist Kate Batchelor is doing 100 artworks in 100 days to raise money for farming mental health charity YANA (You Are Not Alone). This picture is a scene from the Euston Estate.Suffolk artist Kate Batchelor is doing 100 artworks in 100 days to raise money for farming mental health charity YANA (You Are Not Alone). This picture is a scene from the Euston Estate.

Kate Batchelor, from Kessingland, near Lowestoft, has begun her creative challenge to raise money and awareness for The YANA (You Are Not Alone) Project, which offers confidential support to farmers and rural communities across Norfolk and Suffolk.

The artist first found her passion for drawing while growing up on a farm at Weston, near Beccles, and said she was very aware of the "enormous pressures" facing farmers, and the stresses of life on the land.

It has inspired her choice of subject matter, and the charity which will benefit from it.

"As I come from a farming family I know it can be difficult working on your own and being isolated in the countryside," she said.

"One of the key things about farmers is that they work on their own. They are quite proud, and they don't like to show 'weaknesses'. If this helps people come forward and seek help, I think that's really important."

For her 100-day challenge, the artist will create 100 "expressive drawings" using oil pastel and chinagraph pencils, which will later be framed, exhibited and sold to raise money, as well as featuring in a book. They will include contemporary farming themes as well as traditional images.

"But there are also going to be more poignant views as well, reflecting the aims of the project - so maybe the occasional solitary person in the landscape to show the beauty of wildlife and the countryside, but also the harshness," she said.

One of the artist's scenes was at the Euston Estate on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, where she met Clare, Countess of Euston, who is also the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk.

"I had the great pleasure of meeting Kate Batchelor, an enormously talented local artist who is devoting the next few months to a wonderful project to raise awareness of our endangered rare breeds and traditional rural Industries," said Lady Euston. "Funds raised will benefit an exceptional charity, YANA, who provide the best in mental health support to rural communities.

"Farming is the beating heart of life in East Anglia. In one way or another It employs over 70pc of people living here. Those in farming seem to be particularly susceptible to depression and tragically suicide is all too common.

"YANA provides confidential support and up to six hours of free counselling to people at risk. It provides Mental Health First Aid courses to groups across Norfolk and Suffolk. Their door is always open. I cannot commend this inspirational organisation too highly."

- For more information on YANA's mental health support and counselling see the YANA website or contact the confidential helpline on 0300 323 0400.

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