Pedal power for the Samaritans

Steve Johnson from Bexhill in action on his trusty 35-year-old bike.
Steve Johnson from Bexhill in action on his trusty 35-year-old bike.

An intrepid volunteer is preparing to cycle 1,600 miles to raise funds for a leading mental health charity.

Steve Johnson, from Bexhill, is to undertake a gruelling 40 day bike ride from Hastings to Shetland to help raise funds for the Samaritans and awareness of the organisation.

Steve Johnson from Bexhill is preparing to cycle from Sussex to Shetland in aid of Samaritans.

Steve Johnson from Bexhill is preparing to cycle from Sussex to Shetland in aid of Samaritans.

Steve is a listening volunteer at the Hastings and Rother Samaritans.

He said: “I’m more convinced than ever after five years at the local Samaritans that it’s a very valuable service for people who are vulnerable and troubled.

“It’s something I feel that I want to promote, particularly getting people who might be on the cusp of volunteering, to get in touch with us.

“It’s not just sponsorship but it’s also raising awareness.”

After a hiatus of several years, Steve rediscovered his love of cycling a year ago, and is preparing for his cycling challenge by riding between 20 and 80 miles each day.

Steve will set off from the Hastings and Rother Samaritans branch, at 26 St Andrew’s Square in Hastings, on April 15 2019 and reach his final destination, Lerwick in the Shetlands, on May 23.

He will visit 29 Samaritans branches on the way, including Scarborough, Norwich and Edinburgh.

The 65-year-old will be undertaking the feat on his trusty 35-year-old bike.

The first leg of the 35 planned will see Steve cycle to Tunbridge Wells via Bexhill’s Sovereign Light Cafe, where he and his Samaritans’ colleagues will stop for coffee and cake. Some volunteers from the branch will be joining Steve for the remaining 40 miles to Tunbridge Wells and he hopes that members of the public will also want to come along for the ride.

He said: “I’m asking people who have a bike and the time, to join in.

“Everyone is welcome if they think they can do it and raise a bit of money for the Samaritans too.”

Steve is primarily raising money for the Hastings and Rother branch, but anyone who would like to make a donation through Steve’s website can choose to donate to the central Samaritans charity. He is hoping to raise at least £1,000 for the cause.

Steve is also looking for corporate sponsorship.

To find out more, email cyclingsussexshetland@btinternet.com or visit www.cyclingsussexshetland.com to keep up to date with Steve’s progress.