Here is the start of the press release....
Rail workers and commuters at Romford teamed up to give Samaritans a huge Christmas fund-raising boost at Romford railway station on Wednesday 20th December.
Teams of staff cycling on exercise bikes took turns to try to reach 247 miles in 12 hours, to match the 24/7 opening hours of Samaritans branches.
Here is what went on behind the scenes to make it happen...
Planning began in August with a meeting at the Railway Station. Richard, extreme left in top photo, did a great job in helping us prepare for this event as he has done for the other occasions when Samartians visit the Station.
Then it was over to Fitness First to see if they would allow us to borrow two of their bikes as they had done in previous year; all good.
Next we set up a rota for Havering Samaritan Volunteers to attend in 2 hour shifts from 7am to 7pm. We needed a minimum of 2 per shift - and in many cases this was in addition to their normal volunteering time in the branch.
Finally we circulated a notice to Station Staff, Land Sheriffs and Transport Police asking if they are able to stop by - duties permitting - to help promote the event and we are delighted so many of them were able to do so.
The day itself ran like clockwork with extra MTRCrossrail and TfL staff arriving from other stations (with a bag of treats) to help engage with the travelling public. Tony (Station Staff - on the left bike in the photo with Santa) turned up an hour before he started work to get on the bikes to help us achieve our target of 247 miles.
Importantly, we were able to hand out Samaritans contact cards to the passing commuters and a very helpful and informative leaflet - for them to read on the train - which gives some listening tips so they can help others.
Also, of course, we must give mention to the generosity of the public. We must cover our running costs and all the money raised goes towards keeping the branch open. A lot of organsiation goes into making these events happen - but worth it if we can encourage people to use the service which can help saves lives.
We are the station next on 15th Jan for "Brew Monday" - see you there
On another subject: the branch always needs new volunteers to replace and augment those already at our branch. We recently contracted an Information Evening, followed by a Selection Evening with 12 new candidates starting their training in February.