David sees a great turnout for Samaritans

As part of Samaritans’ annual awareness event 24:7, volunteers from the 8 NI Samaritan Branches are preparing for the arrival of David Exley, a Samaritans volunteer, who is motorcycling around the UK and Ireland to raise awareness of the charity.

Ballymoney, being the obvious home of Motorcycling in the NW was the venue for David’s celebration on Friday, August 14 before continues his ‘way round’ Ireland.

David was welcomed to the Borough with a reception at Ballymoney Mayor’s parlour by Lady Mayor, Evelyn Robinson and the Mayor of Coleraine, Cllr Sam Cole as well as the CEO from Limavady and Moyle districts. Branch Directors from all over NI will also be attending the reception at the Mayor’s kind invitation.

Local motorcycling stars including William Dunlop, Paul Robinson, Ryan Farquhar, Ian Lougher gathered at Joey’s Bar to welcome David as he makes his way through the town. These stars and many others including Eamon Loughran and Cathal Mc Monigle of NI and world championship boxing fame, Stephen Carson and Oran Kearney, NI Football and Ian Walker of NI volleyball & GAA All-star Liam Watson were joined by volunteers from Samaritans from all over NI and beyond, plus the Dunlop family and Mervyn Whyte and John Wilson from the NW 200 as well as our very own Liam Beckett .

Covering more than 6,000 miles on his motorbike, David will visit each of the 201 Samaritans branches, highlighting the charity’s vital 24-hour service. Sixty four-year-old David is also completing the ride in memory of his brother Tim, and son James who both sadly died by suicide.

David kick-started his engine at Worthing Samaritans on Monday 2 July, and will be on the road for seven weeks. His final pit stop will be in Cardiff, on 20 August, where he will be greeted by sponsors, Admiral insurance.

To donate to David’s quest to raise £10,000 for Samaritans visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/davidswayround

Kate Miller, Regional Marketing/Publicity officer for Samaritans said: “Our awareness day, 24:7, is the ideal way to raise awareness of Samaritans and David’s challenge will really help to highlight this, across the UK and Ireland. Samaritans is the only helpline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering support to anyone struggling to cope. And where better than Ballymoney, the undisputed home of Motorcycling.

“Here are just a selection of photos taken at our event at Joey’s Bar. We had a great turnout and our thanks go to all who gave up their time to come along and support us, we really appreciate it.

“The pictures are courtesy of David Mc Keown, who also gave of his time and talent for free and just asked that if they are used is it possible to accredit them to him. Our stars also gave their time for free, much appreciated.”