David Matthews is on an amazing Listening Walk and on Sunday he arrived at the Peterborough branch.
On Sunday 4 July the Peterborough branch of the Samaritans welcomed a very special visitor. David Matthews has set out to walk to all the Samaritans branches in the UK from his own branch Doncaster and on Sunday he arrived at the Peterborough branch.
The volunteers on duty offered him much needed refreshments and David shared his story with them. David, who has been a volunteer for 12 years, started his Listening Walk in August 2018 with the aim of walking to every branch in the UK and Ireland in two years. Sadly, COVID hampered this deadline but he’s on course to finish this year at the end of November when he will have visited all 199 branches plus the Festival and Correspondence branches. David decided to embark on this huge challenge to raise funds for the national charity which provides emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling or at risk of suicide and to date he has raised nearly £18,000.
He has raised nearly £18,000
Before this David wasn’t a huge rambler, he’d be tempted to go for a walk as long as there was a pub at the end of it and that’s as far as it went, but this didn’t deter him from taking on this mammoth task. The walk hasn’t just provided David with the satisfaction of raising money but it has also given him some great contact and experiences with members of the public along the way.
One such case was when he was in Walsall and he came across three homeless men. He spent some time chatting to them and it became clear that one of them was very quiet and wasn’t really engaging in the conversation. Mindful that maybe the chap didn’t want to speak to him David decided to move on. As he did so the quiet guy followed him and pushed 50p into David’s hand telling him that this was his donation. It was so obviously the man’s last money that David didn’t want to take it but the guy just wouldn’t take no for an answer so in the end he did take it and felt truly humbled by the man’s selfless generosity.
On his way to another branch, he started talking to a man who seemed to be very unhappy but didn’t really want to talk so David gave him one of his cards and encouraged him to ring when he had more time. He arrived at the branch and was in the ops room when the volunteer took a call from a man saying ‘I’ve just met the person who is walking for Samaritans, he gave me the number and I really need to talk to someone.’ David couldn’t believe it! What are the chances of that happening?
David is still walking and has gone on to visit branches in Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and is now heading for Colchester.
Donations can be made at The Listening Walk
To find out more about Samaritans visit www.samaritans.org.