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Samaritans volunteer David Matthews who is visiting Ennis as part of a 6,000 mile walk to Samaritans branches across Ireland and the UK

Samaritans volunteer’s 6,000 mile Listening Walk to arrive in Ennis

A SAMARITANS volunteer raising awareness of the mental health charity by walking over 9,000 kms, or 6,000 miles, will visit the Samaritans Ennis and Clare branch this weekend as part of his tour. 
David Matthews is walking to all 201 Samaritans branches across Ireland and the United Kingdom to show people how a Samaritans volunteer is always there for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. David has been a Samaritans volunteer for 12 years.
He will arrive in Ennis at approximately 4pm on Saturday and will be overnighting in Ennis before making his way onto the Limerick branch of the Samaritans.
His Irish walking route, dubbed The Listening Walk will visit: Drogheda; Newry; Portadown; Bangor; Belfast; Ballymena; Colerain; Derry; Omagh; Sligo, Athlone, Galway, Ennis, Limerick, Tralee, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Arklow and Newbridge. He will finish in Dublin in late Sept / early Oct.
Margaret MacMahon Ennis Branch Director said, “David has been an inspiration for Samaritans volunteers and callers and we can’t wait to welcome him to our branch.”
Starting in his hometown of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in April 2019, David’s Listening Walk faced multiple delays due to coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns. His journey has taken him across England, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. He hopes to return to his hometown Doncaster and branch by November.
David said, “I’m really looking forward to seeing the country and meeting the people while I’m there. It’s always nice if people stop for a little chat, or if a car toots and someone waves. It gives you a little spring in your step to keep going.”
His aim is also to raise awareness about Samaritans service, listen to people’s experiences along the way, and recruit new volunteers too. He was also raised almost €20,000 to date. Samaritans is the only 24-hour emotional support helpline covering the island of Ireland. Marking 60 years in Ireland this year, it has over 2,300 volunteers in 21 branches who answer over half a million calls and emails a year from people in crisis.
David will stay in branches and on campsites during his walk around Ireland, with his tent and all his belongings packed into his trusted walking trailer.
David said the highlight of his trip has been the people he’s met along the way, including volunteers at branches and members of the public.
“That part has been amazing, I’ve really enjoyed it. The lowest point was the weather… I don’t mind a bit of rain but some days it rained day after day so you can’t dry out.”
To donate to David’s Samaritan fund : uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DavidMatthews
Anyone experiencing distress or just a need to talk can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email a volunteer at jo@samaritans.ie 

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