A cycling fanatic who had retired his bike more than two decades ago is now undertaking a gruelling 1,600-mile journey for charity, and wants Bexleyheath residents to join him for the ride.

Steve Johnson, a senior examiner from Sussex, has dusted off his 35-year-old Raleigh 'Classic Tourer' and is aiming to cycle from Hastings to the Shetland Islands in aid of the Samaritans, where he has been volunteering for five years.

Along the way, Steve will be calling into 30 Samaritans branches, including in Glynde Road, Bexleyheath, where he will be drumming up recruits to join him on his journey. He'll also stop at Greenwich.

MORE: Good Causes: Survivors of Abuse charity in Bromley

Speaking to News Shopper, Steve explained he had taken up cycling as a young man but due to the pressures of his job, he found little time to partake in his favourite sport.

News Shopper:

Steve Johnson, 65, training ahead of his amazing undertaking

However, he recently made the decision to get back in the saddle and into training ahead of his monumental trek across the country.

"I locked the bike away in the garage nearly 25 years ago because of the pressures of my job.

"But around 18 months ago, I took it back out. It’s a superb sport and it’s something I really enjoy," he said.

MORE: Woman thanks therapist for saving her life after suicide attempts

Steve will be calling into the Bexleyheath branch on April 20, five days after he sets out from Hastings, and encourages residents to come along to discover more about the work which the Samaritans undertake within communities.

"The Samaritans provides a critical lifeline for people who are suicidal, anxious or who simply need someone to talk to.

"Volunteers based in over two hundred branches across the British Isles answer phones, reply to texts and emails, and speak to people face to face.

"Anyone who can spare fifteen hours a month for this vital work is welcome to join us," said Steve.

Anyone who wishes to donate or get in touch ahead of his arrival can do so here.