IT MAY not have been 500 miles but Pars fan Steven Nelson walked towards Sunshine on Leith to raise mental health awareness.

Together with colleagues from his financial services consultancy firm, The Lang Cat, he pulled on his walking trainers to hit the road from Dunfermline to the capital in aid of the Samaritans.

Steven, who lives in Longniddry, East Lothian, said that the charity was "important and close to the hearts of many" within the company that he co-founded, and is based in Leith.

Having set out to raise an initial target of £5,000 – the amount needed to keep a Samaritans branch open for a month – ahead of completing the 21-mile trek, which started from the Dunfermline branch of the Samaritans, his fundraising total has surpassed a whopping £14,000.

Steven, who said 15-16 of those within his firm would be taking part, commented: "Mental health awareness and wellbeing is an issue that is not very well discussed in financial services.

"It's a high-pressure, typically male-dominated environment, but we decided to do some work to raise awareness and money through a few initiatives. There are a number of reasons why this issue is important and close to the hearts of many within the company, and one person is a Samaritan themselves.

"We walked over the Forth Road Bridge, which is poignant as, unfortunately, a few young men have taken their own lives there. We tried to raise £5,000, which is what it roughly costs to keep a branch of the Samaritans open for a month, but we've totally smashed it.

"Friends, family and the financial services industry have really rallied round."

Steven, a former season ticket-holder at East End, and whose parents still help out at the club, added: "It's important that companies take this issue seriously, and know the right way to help or refer people.

"What we have found is that, the more people talk about it, the more awareness it raises behind the scenes, and it seems to be helping people."

To make a donation, visit Steven's Virgin Money Giving page at