Doncaster man nears end of 6,000 mile walk visiting every UK Samaritans branch

A Doncaster man is nearing the end of a gruelling 6,000 mile walk to every single Samaritans branch in the UK.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 1:12 pm

David Matthews is raising awareness of the mental health charity and has just come to the end of the Irish leg of his tour in Dublin.

The Listening Walk is visiting all 201 Samaritans branches across the UK and Ireland to show people how the charity’s volunteers are always there for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

He said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Ireland leg of my walk. The people have been incredibly generous and friendly.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

David Matthews is visiting every UK Samaritans branch.

“So many people have stopped to talk about the walk, and I’ve lost count of the number of vehicles that have tooted and waved as they have driven by.

“The low times have been weather related. There have been days when it has rained so hard it’s been difficult to see the road ahead. The traffic thunders by and no-one stops to talk about the walk.

“These are the difficult times, the times when you wonder what you’re doing, the times you want to give up, but you dig deep and push on knowing things will get better.

“Sadly, I’ve talked to many people who know someone who has taken their own life. Some of their stories are heart-breaking, but it reinforces what I am doing: letting people know that Samaritans are there for them, no matter what they are going through in their life. This thought pushes me on.”

He set off Doncaster in April 2019 but has faced multiple delays due to coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns.

His 19-month wall has taken him across England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands and Ireland and he now has only 11 branches left to visit before returning back to Doncaster’s Sir Nigel Gresley Square – on foot – on October 30.

Mr Matthews said the highlight of his trip has been the people he has met along the way, including volunteers at branches and members of the public who have supported him along the way with lodgings, food, warm clothes, and kind words.

He has also raised almost £17,000 to date.