Tragic runner’s family had visited town’s Samaritans branch

Samaritans in Bognor Regis have spoken about their link to a tragic runner.

Claire Squires, 30, was just a mile from the finish of the recent London Marathon when she died.

Her death has led to more than £800,000 in donations being made to the charity.

Lawrence Young, the director of its Argyle Road branch, which cover Bognor, Chichester and Midhurst, said: “We are particularly touched by this tragedy as one of Claire’s family visited our branch at the end of the week before the devastating event.

“We got to know this lady very well as she talked enthusiastically about what Claire was going to do.

“Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to the Squires family.”

Claire, of North Kilworth, Leicestershire, was hoping to raise £500 for the Samaritans.

Her mother had volunteered for the charity for 24 years, usually manning the phones.

Its Bognor branch, like all the Samaritans’ 201 branches, relies solely on donations and fundraising.

It is a 24-hour service which helps people who need emotional support. The calls can act as a comfort to lonely and depressed people as well those who are suicidal.

The Bognor branch has 69 volunteers who strive to help as many people as possible.

One caller described talking to them as leaving them feeling ‘better now, brighter, calmer, more optimistic’ instead of the lost cause they considered themselves beforehand.

The helpers plan to do more work with schools to educate young people about what they do. More work with homeless and vulnerable people is also likely.