A SAMARITAN walked more than 100 miles to complete a shift at the charity’s Barnsley branch.

Volunteer David Matthews, 58, is currently undertaking a 6,000-mile challenge to work a shift at every Samaritans branch in the UK and Ireland.

And he headed to Barnsley, where he was greeted by mayor Coun Steve Green, as he approached the 150-mile mark on this leg of the challenge.

David said: “The volunteers properly looked after me. One person gave me a leg massage, which was brilliant.

“They took me to the pub for a lovely meal, and I stayed at a volunteer’s house. It made a difference from eating out of a tin and putting my tent up.”

David set off on the ‘listening walk’, which he hopes will raise awareness of Samaritans and the vital service it offers, from the Doncaster branch at which he began volunteering ten years ago.

After working a shift at Barnsley, responding to calls, emails and texts, David moved on to Harrogate.

David, who lives in the Knoydart peninsula in Scotland, said people he’d met along the way had been very friendly.

David said: “Everyone shakes your hand and has a bit of a chat, and it encourages you that it’s a worthwhile thing you’re doing.”

David, who grew up in Maltby, is aiming to raise £100,000 in sponsorship, and to recruit 1,000 new Samaritans volunteers along the way.The schedule for the walk and details on how to donate can be found at www.thelisteningwalk.co.uk, and people are welcome to join David on his journey.

Samaritans can be contacted 24 hours a day, every day of the year by phone on 116123 or by email at jo@samaritans.org.