AFTER a 132-mile walk to raise awareness of mental health issues in the emergency services, four ambulance workers arrived back in Didcot.

Hundreds of residents greeted Rob Gilley, Steve Dobson, Teresa Howard-Birt and Kyla Haythorn as they wearily – but triumphantly – strode into Edmonds Park after six days of almost non-stop walking from the Hampshire coast.

The South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) workers have been raising funds and awareness to support colleagues in the emergency services who are experiencing anxiety or depression because of the job they do.

Walking through each county SCAS operates in –Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire – the group left Gosport on Monday, August 21, and reached Didcot on Saturday after trekking for 10 to 12 hours every day.

Organiser Mr Gilley was embraced by family members as he strode across the finish line.

The dad-of-one, who has been a paramedic for 17 years, said: "I'm feeling very emotional.

"To walk all the way here from the coast is amazing and it's good to be back home.

"I've seen a lot of things in my time as a paramedic, as we all have.

"It takes its toll.

"We decided we wanted to do something to raise awareness about the problem.

"It was a huge challenge but it's important that people know that there is support all around them and they can get help when they need it."

The group are raising money for Samaritans and Oxfordshire Mind's 'blue light champion scheme', which provides mental health support for emergency services staff and volunteers.

So far they have raised almost £1,000.

Fellow walker Ms Haythorn, who has been a paramedic for six years, said: "I've got blisters on top of blisters.

"Each of had our moments where we were close to giving up.

"If we did not do it as a team, I don't think any of us would have completed it.

"I have been signed off work with post traumatic stress in the past.

"I had a reputation for always being the one who seems to end up at the really bad jobs.

"We are human, we are not invincible.

"I did not talk about it and that was the wrong thing to do.

"I want others who may be experiencing similar things to know that there are people out there who can help."

Joining the foursome to walk the final 12 miles of their journey were dozens of friends and supporters.

Among them was Mandy Evans, whose son Aled was a paramedic and killed himself in December 2015.

She said: "They see things you and I have never seen – the stuff of nightmares – and are just expected to carry on.

"They are always there for us but sometimes we need to be there for them.

"If they are struggling with the things they have seen, we need to make sure they are aware of the fact that they should get support and help with their mental health."

The walk ended at a emergency services-themed fun day where families were given a chance to ride in police cars and fire engines and see a bomb-disposal robot in action.