A charity that lends a listening ear to people in despair has launched a fund raising initiative called the Samarathon.

The Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead Samaritans are inviting supporters to run, jog or walk a marathon distance of 26 miles in their own time over the month of July.

Samaritan branch director Susan Chapman said: “This is a challenge you can do on your own or with members of your household respecting Government guidelines, or join with friends, family and work mates virtually, supporting each other’s progress wherever you are.

“Whatever your age or ability, Samarathon is a challenge to do in your time, at your pace, wherever you live or work.

"In this current climate we really need the public’s continued support. Due to the cancellation of many of our fundraising events, we’re facing a significant loss of funding, so we’re urging the public to help us ensure that we continue to be here for anyone who needs support. It’s free to sign up to Samarathon, but we’d love for everyone to raise whatever they can to help us be there for anyone struggling to cope.”

Supporters can sign up for free at www.samaritans.org/samarathon to take part.

Anyone needing a friendly person to talk to can contact Samaritans free any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org.

Find out more about Slough Windsor and Maidenhead Samaritans at https://www.samaritans.org/branches/slough/