IT’S been a marathon effort but he is nearing the finish line.

Step by step Stephen Phillips is helping emotionally distressed people living in Southampton.

As a volunteer for the Southampton Samaritans, Stephen is determined to help the charity.

And he is just 50 miles away from his goal – to complete the 267-mile walk along the Pennine Way.

The 58-year-old, from Chandler’s Ford, hopes to raise money for those people in Southampton who rely on a friendly voice at the end of a phone for support.

For the last two weeks Stephen has been camping and staying in hostels as he walks to Kirk Yelthom on the Scottish border.

He said: “It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be but I’m still going despite all the bumps and bruises.

“The walk has been great and I’m so close to the end.

“It’s such a rewarding experience and everyone back home is supporting me.”

Southampton Samaritans provides anonymous, over the phone support to people in emotional distress and aims to cut the number of people committing suicide in the UK.

Stephen added: “I have always given to charities and wanted to help.

“I wanted to take some time and feel like I am in touch with the people we help by raising money to keep the Southampton Samaritans centre going.

“We don’t give advice or judge people. When no one else is there we are listening and this is an extremely worthy cause to be walking for.”

Stephen is three days away from his destination, and to donate to his cause, visit stephen1940.