FRESH eggs and Instagram are proving a popular combination for one former businessman raising hundreds of pounds for a cancer research charity.

Jonathan Greenwood left the business world behind to make the move to a small corner of the Yorkshire Dales after living and working in Leeds city centre for more than a decade.

The 50-year-old became tired of his daily commute and a life coach helped Mr Greenwood realise he had been living with depression for a long time.

In 2008, Mr Greenwood's mother-in-law died from bowel cancer. Looking back, he pinpoints her death as the trigger for the decline in his mental health. Just four years later, Jonathan’s father Keith died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 72.

“I hadn’t realised how much their deaths had affected me. The life coach very quickly spotted signs of depression. I recognised I was deeply unhappy and I needed to make a huge change,” Mr Greenwood said.

In October last year, he made the final decision to relocate to Leyburn, in Wensleydale, and work from home.

“I moved with only a coffee pot and a blow up bed,” he admits. “I’d always wanted chickens as a child, so buying a coop was one of the first things I did. I just love them. They’re so friendly, and each one has their own personality.”

Mr Greenwood fell so in love with his chickens that he gave them all names, including ‘Meatloaf’ and ‘Benedict’. When his happy hens began laying more eggs than he could consume, he saw a fundraising opportunity.

He said: “There’s a local volunteer group based in Leyburn which raises money for Yorkshire Cancer Research. As soon as I moved in I was introduced to the charity and invited along to a coffee morning.

“I’d always wanted to do something as a thank you for the treatment and care my dad received. Everywhere you go there’s somebody shaking a charity box. I wanted to do something different. I decided to give the eggs away for free in return for donations, and I’m amazed by how well it’s been received.”

Not long after Mr Greenwood moved to Leyburn, his aunt was diagnosed with cancer in her throat and passed away just five weeks later on his 50th birthday. His grief made him even more determined to raise as much as possible for new research and services in Yorkshire.

To help his eggs along, Mr Greenwood decided to set up an Instagram account. He now posts daily on the social media channel, allowing users a unique insight into his life. More than 1,600 people now follow his account, and some travel far and wide to pick up a box of his eggs.

The 50-year-old's fundraising total currently stands at more than £500 after just three months. He matches every donation made with money from his own pocket.

“I’ve got lots of other fundraising ideas up my sleeve, and they’re all about celebrating local produce and the benefits of living out in the countryside," he added. "Now I’d rather spend all my time raising money for Yorkshire Cancer Research than making money for myself.”

Since moving to Leyburn, Mr Greenwood has taken steps to boost his mental health and has joined the East Witton Male Voice Choir – a pastime his dad also enjoyed – and is getting to know nearby farmers and businessmen.

“If I can help one person feel better about themselves then I’m happy,” Mr Greenwood said.

“I know what it’s like to hate waking up every morning. I also know what it’s like when people you love are diagnosed with cancer. I want to start conversations on Instagram so people feel less alone. So much more needs to be done to support family members and friends.”

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