THE Borders branch of the Samaritans, based in Selkirk’s West Port, is set to welcome David Exley at the beginning of next month, when he stops off in the town on a marathon 6,000-mile motorcycle trip
David aims to visit all 201 British branches of the charity, which provides confidential emotional support 24/7 to those experiencing despair, distress or suicidal feelings.
David, 64, who will be in Selkirk on August 2, is undertaking the venture to highlight the Samaritans’ vital 24-hour service, in memory of his brother, Tim, and son, James, both of whom died by suicide.
David kick-started his tour at Worthing Samaritans on July 2, and will have been on the road for seven weeks when he makes his final pit stop in Cardiff, on August 20, where he will be greeted by his sponsors, Admiral Insurance.
David told us: “My younger brother Tim took his own life 24 years ago and, tragically, in 2007, my son James also ended his life.
“I really hope that my challenge will mean that more people will be aware of the support Samaritans offers – that way, some good can come out of what has been a very difficult time for me and my family.
“I am really looking forward to meeting my fellow Samaritans and celebrating the charity’s awareness day, ‘24:7’ [staged annually on July 24] with them.”
Samaritans chief executive Catherine Johnstone said: “David’s challenge will really help to highlight the charity’s vital work. Samaritans is the only helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering support to anyone struggling to cope.
“We hope everyone gets behind David and supports him.”
David is due to arrive at the Borders Branch in Selkirk on Thursday, August 2 at 10am.
Samaritans volunteers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to offer confidential support by phone: 08457 90 90 90 (UK); email: email@example.com, or face-to-face at 21 West Port, Selkirk TD7 4DG.