24:7 - David's Way Round: the highlights

Update June 2014: sadly, David died last month. We’ve preserved all his work for Samaritans here as a mark of respect for the huge amount of support he gave us. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

David Exley, our volunteer from Worthing branch has completed his epic motorbike tour which saw him visiting every one of our 201 branches. David completed the challenge for our National Awareness Day, 24:7 and in memory of his son and brother who both tragically died by suicide.

It was an adventure David will never forget, and that is largely thanks to all our volunteers, who put huge efforts in to welcoming him to their branches. It is impossible to capture all the highlights from David’s trip, here are just a few…

David met more than 50 local Mayors, MPs, MSPs and local Councillors over the course of his journey and was also greeted by a Shakespearian ghost, a giant mobile telephone, a Viking and three Olympic torch bearers. Coronation Street Actor Ian Puleston-Davies, Ewan McGregor’s father and our very own Stephen Hoddell also welcomed him.

When David arrived on the Isle of Man, he rode a lap of the TT race course, and in Stornoway, he put his Samaritans training to good use, delivering face to face support to someone in the street.

David visited Festival branch at the Bulldog Bash, opened a new Samaritans shop, and was joined by more than 40 bikers from The Royal British Legion who kept him company during the Scottish leg of his tour. A whole host of bikers and biker groups joined him at different points of his journey, giving him encouragement and company on his ride.

David had a very memorable trip to Ireland. At an event in Ballymoney, David was greeted by three of Northern Ireland’s Mayors, as well as a whole host of sporting icons including motorcyclist William Dunlop, Boxer Eamonn Loughran, and football manager Liam Beckett.

David completed his journey at the iconic Millennium stadium in Cardiff, where he was greeted by volunteers, Simon Hatch, Executive Director for Wales, and staff from Admiral (the sponsor of 24:7).

David said:

"I would like to say a huge thank you to every single person who has supported me over the last couple of months. The volunteers’ warmth and enthusiasm as I got to each branch was truly humbling and something I will never forget. I would also like to thank my brother Peter, who was with me for last 17 days of my trip and has been a huge source of support. I am close to reaching my fundraising target and we have achieved more than 200 pieces of press coverage. The awareness my trip has raised has been really great, and I hope more people know about Samaritans as a result. I am proud to be a Samaritan and hope my brother Tim and son James are looking down and feeling proud of me too."

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