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Samaritans biker arrives in Shetland

Charity biker David Exley.

A SAMARITANS volunteer on a fundraising trip to all 201 branches of the lifeline charity has been in Shetland on Friday for a two hour visit.

David Exley is covering more than 6,000 miles on his motorbike in memory of his brother and his son who both took their own lives.

He also is on target to raise more than £10,000 for the charity’s 24 hours service.

Visiting the local branch after flying in to Sumburgh and arriving in Lerwick on a borrowed motorbike, Mr Exley said the work of the Samaritans was very close to his heart.

“It is tragic that has brought this ride about. Twenty four years ago my younger brother Tim took his life on Christmas Day and, more recently, my own son James took his life at the age of 34.

“If only either of them, or perhaps both, had rung the Samaritans they might still be alive today.

“The whole purpose of what I am doing is to tell as many people as possible that there are 201 branches, and behind that there are over 20,000 trained listeners who are there to help people in distress,” the 64 year old said.

Chair of the Shetland Samaritans, Cathy Goudie, added: “Our awareness day, 24:7, is the ideal way to raise awareness of Samaritans and David’s challenge will really help to highlight this, not only in Lerwick but across the UK and Ireland.”

Mr Exley was due to fly back to Edinburgh later on Friday where he will mount his own bike again to continue his fundraising trip heading to Perth, Dundee, Elgin and then Orkney.

His final pit stop will be in Cardiff, on 20 August, where he will be greeted by sponsors, Admiral Insurance.

More info on the work of the Samaritans can be found at www.samaritans.org. The charity biker can be supported via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/davidswayround