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Prime Minister praises chaplain for support to gay farmers

Canon Keith Ineson has been given the Points of Light award which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others

He's been highlighted for his work setting up the Gay Farmer Helpline which supports men in isolated rural communities struggling with their sexuality.

Despite himself realising he was gay at the age of 14, he only felt able to come out at the age of 50.

After founding Cheshire's Agricultural Chaplaincy Team, he began working with gay farmers and realised how many people across the country in the same situation must also be hiding their sexuality and consequently facing enormous pressures on their mental health and wellbeing.

In a personal letter to Keith, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how you are using your unique, confidential helpline service to support men across the country who are living in isolated rural communities and are struggling with their sexuality and wellbeing."

Speaking about the award, Keith said: "Since starting the helpline for gay farmers we have helped nearly 500 farmers, some of who were suicidal, so I am extremely pleased that this work has been recognised in this way."

Keith is the 1251st winner of the Points of Light award.

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