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

The woman was attacked in a house in Hatherley Road, Walthamstow (Picture: Google Streetview)

A woman was stabbed in the neck and a six-year-old child injured after they were attacked at a house in Walthamstow in broad daylight.

Read more
07:49
Boris Johnson is angry his plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary have been rejected (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has reacted angrily to the decision by the Airports Commission to reject plans for ‘Boris Island’, accusing its author Sir Howard Davies of setting the debate on aviation expansion back by half a century.

Read more
6 minutes ago
Seahorses are a protected species and trade in them is illegal (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A Chinese medicine trader has been fined for selling sexual enhancement pills made with seahorse extracts.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Can you guess which bridge crossing the Thames in London which? (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Do you know your Blackfriars from your Southwark, Cannon Street from Waterloo, or do all of London’s bridges look alike to you?

Read more
Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more