National charity challenge for Samaritans makes its way through Hitchin

David Matthews was welcomed by Samaritans volunteers at the Hitchin branch yesterday (June 22)

David Matthews was welcomed by Samaritans volunteers - as well as Fancy Dress Dad Nick Jemetta - at the Hitchin branch yesterday (June 22) - Credit: Carly Bedwell

A man travelling more than 6,000 miles for Samaritans - visiting every branch in the UK and Ireland - has finally set foot in Hitchin.

For his stupendous challenge - dubbed The Listening Walk - David Matthews has visited more than half of the UK and Ireland's Samaritans branches - and won't stop until he's visited every last one.

David Matthews arriving in Hitchin

David Matthews arriving in Hitchin - Credit: Carly Bedwell

David travelled more than 4,400 miles before reaching Hitchin, where he visited Samaritans of North Herts and Stevenage yesterday (June 22). He was met by local volunteers and local fancy dress legend Nick Jemetta.

David has been raising awareness about Samaritans as well as raising over £16,000 so far for the charity.

David set off from the Doncaster Samaritans branch on 14 April 2019, and said that "the end's in sight" as his charity feat continues.

Of visiting Hitchin, his 155th destination, David said: “I'd never been to Hitchin before but I was amazed by how friendly everyone was as soon as I arrived - people saying "hello" as I walked through the town.


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"After days of rain, the sun shone finally came out in Hitchin! And it was great to have a friendly welcome from a load of volunteers at the branch on Nun's Close.”

David Matthews outside the Hitchin Samaritans branch

David Matthews outside the Hitchin Samaritans branch - Credit: Carly Bedwell

Ilsa Hawtin, branch director from Samaritans of North Herts & Stevenage, said: “It's hard to imagine what David has experienced in all the days, months and years he's been doing the Listening Walk. It's hard to imagine a nicer, friendlier person too!

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"David has already raised lots of funds to help support our callers. Perhaps most importantly, he's raised awareness of Samaritans in every town he's visited. We were delighted to welcome him to Hitchin Samaritans and wish him lots of luck on the rest of his journey.”

Volunteers from Samaritans of North Herts & Stevenage met outside the branch to welcome David and presented him with some local-themed gifts, including Hitchin coasters by Dan Brammall and some lavender and peppermint foot cream from Hitchin Lavender to soothe his tired feet.

Fancy Dress Dad Nick Jemetta from Hitchin greets David Matthews, who has walked over 4,400 miles so for Samaritans

Fancy Dress Dad Nick Jemetta from Hitchin greets David Matthews, who has walked over 4,400 miles so for Samaritans - Credit: Carly Bedwell

Local fancy dress legend Nick Jemetta also made an appearance to cheer David on, dressed as a power ranger – one superhero to inspire another.

During his journey, David's gone through seven pairs of trainers so far and given out 10,000 cards with Samaritans contact information.

Visit David’s fundraising page to make a donation to The Listening Walk and find out more.

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