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31st Jan 2014

#FindMike – British Man Reunited With The Stranger Who Helped Save His Life

Jonny's search has come to an end.

Earlier this month Jonny Benjamin started an online campaign to find the man who saved his life and now he has.

At the start of January he launched the ‘Find Mike’ campaign in a bid to find the stranger who persuaded him not to jump into the River Thames after being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

As well as writing a blog post for the Huffington Post UK, Jonny recorded a YouTube video. He also got help from the organisation called Rethink Mental Illness.

And this week all his hard work has paid off as Jonny has been reunited with Neil Laybourn, the man who convinced him to climb back over the railings of Waterloo Bridge in January 2008.

It was Neil’s fiancée who saw the campaign tweet and immediately called to tell him about the campaign.

He said: “She saw it on her phone a couple of days after it had gone viral, and straightaway she called me up and as soon as I looked at it I saw how big it was, so I just got in touch as soon as I could really.”

Neil (31), from Surrey, told BBC News about how he approached Jonny: “It was a very cold day, a very windy day, and Jonny just had a T-shirt on and was sitting over the edge of the bridge and it was glaringly obvious why he was there.

“I walked up around him and just calmly approached him and I said: ‘Hi mate, can you tell me why you’re sitting on the bridge?’ and he told me that he was going to take his life that day.”

Speaking about his campaign, Jonny told BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast: “They [police] took me away and I never got a chance to say thank you to Neil which is why I launched this campaign – we never got a chance to go for that coffee and I’ve just been so grateful to him ever since.”

The video below captures their reunion and it’s a truly touching moment.

Video via YouTube/Rethink Mental Illness