Media Release: 1 June 2015
Wellington student and cycling enthusiast, Alastair Baldwin, cycled 3000km from Invercargill to Cape Reinga recently to raise funds and awareness for the Samaritans.
Mr Baldwin’s journey began in Invercargill on the 28th of February and took him approximately 2 months to complete.
Alastair said “this has been a dream of mine for several years. Something that, up until now, I had been too afraid to attempt”.
“I wanted to raise funds for Samaritans because I know first-hand how important it is to have someone to talk to when you’re struggling with your mental health” he said.
Alastair raised over $4,500 for Samaritans, which is a confidential listening and support telephone service operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for those who may be feeling depressed, lonely, or suicidal.
Deputy Mayor of Wellington Justin Lester presented Alastair with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of Samaritans of Wellington at the Sounds for Samaritan concert held on Saturday 28 May, where Alastair was guest of honour.
Samaritans of Wellington Board Chairperson, Cheryl Crooks, says “Alastair’s passion for helping others while also achieving this amazing personal goal is inspiring to everyone at Samaritans. There are many young people that benefit from a Samaritans listening ear, and we are so excited to have Alastair on board helping us prevent suicide in New Zealand”.
Suicide statistics released in October 2015 confirmed that 564 New Zealanders lives were lost by suicide in 2014/15.
Alastair says, “New Zealand has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and I want people to know that there is someone wanting to help on the other end of the phone”.
Mr Baldwin says that “With no government funding, Samaritans are severely underfunded. They need our help so they can continue listening and caring for thousands of New Zealanders every year”.
Unfortunately, on his way from Cape Reinga to Auckland to catch a flight home, he was knocked off his bike in Kaeo and ended up in hospital. Now that he has recovered Alastair is already planning his next adventure. His aim is to cycle from Sao Paolo in Brazil across the Andes to Santiago in Chile.
He is also looking forward to exhibiting at the upcoming New Zealand Art Show being held on 3-6 June at the TSB Bank Arena.
For more information contact:
Jo Leahy, Marketing and Fundraising Officer, Samaritans of Wellington
Phone: 04 472 3676 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org