We have heard so much in the news about keeping safe this Christmas, being told that we need to ensure that we don’t take risks which we could come to regret later and to ensure we all act in the interests of the people we love and our wider communities.
This is absolutely the right advice.
We all have a part to play in controlling the spread of the dreaded COVID virus and because of all the tragic stories we have heard, we are receptive to the messages and are following the guidance.
Things like COVID really help to focus our minds and therefore our actions.
Too many people have lost loved ones to COVID this year and this Christmas is going to be a tough one for so many families.
It’s true, Christmas will be different for us all, but if we can get through this safely to enjoy many more Christmases together, a change this year is a small price to pay.
The COVID threat feels very real now and none of us would ever want to take an action which would jeopardise the health and the safety of our families, so naturally we are taking actions every day to protect ourselves and the people we love.
I was thinking about this when I was out working sheep this week.
The rain was battering down, the hills on my farm are so wet the grass offers as much grip as a skating rink.
I was in a rush and I just needed to get jobs done, so I jumped on the quad and started up the bank.
I’d hadn’t gone far when I realised I didn’t have my helmet and I won’t lie, I was very tempted to just carry on – just that once, after all what could happen if it was just that one time.
And then I stopped looked at the hill and remembered a young lad rolling the quad on that very same hill.
Needless to say I went and got the helmet and it cost me all of 10 minutes.
The truth of the matter is that we work in a dangerous industry that is full of risks and sadly accidents happen far more often than they should.
British farmers are 18 times more likely to be killed at work than the average industrial worker. So much of our daily work is full of unknowns and challenges.
Think of the livestock, especially cows, the weather, the terrain that we are operating heavy machinery on – so often these things are working against us.
We are often working alone and sometimes it is tempting to take a risk to save a little more time or to avoid asking or waiting for help.
But the truth is every time we take a risk we are not just risking ourselves, which is bad enough, we are risking our family.
Alongside every one of us farmers, there are family and friends.
People that love us and people whose lives would be devastated without us.
For every life that is lost, there are many lives that are changed forever.
And the only way to change that, is for us to make and be the change.
I have met a lot of individuals who have lost people in farming accidents or whose lives have been changed.
Nearly all of them say “if only I could turn the clock back” or “it just wasn’t worth the risk”.
All of them have said they would give anything to bring the person they have lost back.
As we head into this not so normal Christmas, that is full of messages about keeping safe, let’s remember that by keeping ourselves safe, we keep our families safe.
We protect them from having to live through the pain and the hurt of losing someone that they love and don’t want to live without.
So as we prepare to share this Christmas with the people we love, just take a minute and imagine just how their future Christmases would be if something happened to you, in what could have been a preventable accident.
And as you do, hug your partner and kids a little tighter and make them a promise that you will do everything you can to stay safe and to make sure that you are here for many more Christmases to come.
Happy Christmas from all of us at Team Red.
Stay safe now and importantly right throughout 2021 and beyond.