THE Prince of Wales has praised a Herefordshire farmer for his support to a friend struck down by coronavirus.

Sam Stables, a Duchy of Cornwall tenant farmer, took on his friend's flock of sheep at the same time as running his own farm and launching a mental health charity.

In a message of support to all Duchy tenants, Prince Charles singled out Mr Stables for his work during the pandemic.

"We are now three months into a range of measures introduced to combat the coronavirus pandemic," he said.

"I am very much aware of the difficulties this has presented to everyone and I can only say how I feel for you all, particularly those impacted to the greatest extent who are reliant on tourism, hospitality and the associated food sectors, especially in the far South West.

"This coronavirus has perhaps reminded us that society works because people do things together for the common good, whether that is keyworkers keeping us healthy, farmers producing our food or the supply chain meeting our needs.  We all know that food isn’t made by supermarkets.

"Now, whilst, I must confess, feeling rather demoralised after hearing about of some of these difficulties within the Duchy of Cornwall family, I have been much heartened to be told some of the many tales of altruistic behaviour and goodwill around the Duchy estate."


He added: "At a farming level, one of our energetic and selfless new entrant farm tenants in Herefordshire, Sam Stables, not only took on an entire flock of sheep from Yorkshire and lambed them for a friend stricken by the virus, but also started a charity to help with mental health issues amongst the farming community.

"As you can perhaps imagine, I am extremely proud of him."

Sam Stables, who farms land near Hereford at Kingsthorne, received a personal letter from Prince Charles backing his new mental health charity for farmers.

Giving a platform for farmers to get together and combat isolation, Mr Stables said the driving-force behind the We Are Farming Minds charity has been his wife, Emily, who helped him with his mental health struggles.

“We had a really nice letter from Prince Charles, who wants to make a donation to it. That was incredible,” Mr Stables, said.

“The farm is owned by the Duchy, and he’s great really. He keeps up with all that his tenants are doing. He’s really passionate about his farming.

“He’s a great chap and keeps up-to-date with what’s going on on the estates all over the country.”

READ MORE: Why Sam is setting up a mental health charity for farmers


Mr Stables highlighted the stark figures about the suicide rate amongst farmers. NFU Mutual’s Farm Safety Foundation said that in 2018, there were 83 suicides among people working in agricultural and related trades in England and Wales – more than one every week.

Research from the foundation also showed four out of five farmers under the age of 40 believe mental health is the biggest hidden problem facing farmers.

Prince Charles, who visited Ross-on-Wye in November 2019, added: "For what it is worth – and as I daresay many of you have heard me mention over all the years I have been lucky enough to know you all – I have long felt that collaboration between farmers is vital if they are to move forward and prosper, and I feel this more strongly now than ever."

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"I must say that I am enormously proud to have been so closely involved with the Duchy of Cornwall for over fifty years now, and it probably shows I have a ghastly feeling!

"I know we have some of the very best communities, businesses and farmers who make it what it is and I truly hope that we can work together to keep ahead of the game and to ensure a somewhat brighter future beyond the rather dark times we find ourselves in at the moment.

"My kindness wishes to you all ladies and gentlemen."

The Hereford Times wants to highlight the work of farmers who have admirably continued throughout the coronavirus pandemic in our farming awards.

The 2020 Farming Awards take place in digital format – because of coronavirus - in November. To nominate visit yourself or someone you know visit