Good Samaritan found after #Findmike campaign

Jonny Benjamin (L) was reunited with the stranger who saved his life after talking him down from Waterloo bridge. He  found his Good Samaritan, Neil Hayward, after the #FindMike campiagn went viral.

Jonny Benjamin (L) was reunited with the stranger who saved his life after talking him down from Waterloo bridge. He found his Good Samaritan, Neil Hayward, after the #FindMike campiagn went viral.

Archant

The mental health worker who started the #Findmike campaign has been reunited with the stranger who talked him down from Waterloo Bridge.

Jonny Benjamin tried to find the Good Samaritan who stopped him from killing himself six years ago, who he had named in his head as ‘Mike’.

His appeal became an international social media hit, and was shared by celebrities including Stephen Fry and Kate Nash, with even the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg adding his support.

And just two weeks later he found his ‘Mike’, although his real name is Neil.

The 31 year-old personal trainer from Surrey says he knew immediately he was the stranger Jonny was looking for.

Neil Hayward said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the campaign, I got in touch straight away.

“I was so pleased to see how well Jonny was doing, I had thought about him over the years and had always hoped he was ok.

“When we met, it was clear how much that encounter on the bridge meant to Jonny, he told me it was a pivotal moment in his life – which was great to hear.

“I didn’t feel it was that big a deal, I did what anyone would do. I wasn’t trying to fix his problems that day, I just listened.”

The charity Rethink Mental Illness announced the news early this morning and the pair, who finally met during an emotional reunion two days ago, will give their first broadcast interview to ITV1’s Daybreak in a few hours.

Jonny said: “I feel like I’ve won the lottery – I’m totally elated.

“It means the world to me to finally have the opportunity to say thank you.

“That day on the bridge my life hit rock bottom, but meeting Neil, I felt so happy, it couldn’t be more of a contrast.

“It’s as though I’ve come full circle and that chapter of my life has now closed. He’s such a warm, genuine person – everyone should have a friend like Neil.”

Jonny is making a documentary about his search, which is expected to be ready this spring, with the charity planning a premiere screening in London.

Related articles

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 16:31
Syrian activists in Kafranbel pay tribute to the murdered American war journalist

The video of US journalist James Foley being beheaded by a jihadi with what appears to be a London accent has been shared millions of times around the world already.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:12
Hyacinth Brown is still recovering from the heart attack in hospital.

An elderly pastor suffered a heart attack after police burst through her door in an early-morning drugs raid which her family say was a “massive mistake.”

Read more
Yesterday, 12:40
This undated image shows a frame from a video released by Islamic State militants that purports to show the killing of journalist James Foley  (AP Photo)

An American journalist has been beheaded on video by an ISIS fighter in Syria - who is believed to be from London.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more
Can you guess the Tube station just from the outside? (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

How well do you know your Tube stations? Can you guess these Underground stops from the pictures taken outside them?

Read more
But which London?! [Photo courtesy of Basher Eyre]

You might know London like the back of your hand, but how well do you know the other Londons - and London landmarks - across the world?

Read more