South Shields comedienne Sarah Millican has helped the Samaritans raise more than £180,000.

The comic and writer has just finished a sell-out tour where she encouraged her audiences to donate to the charity through bucket collections.

Altogether £181,834.63 was raised. The money will be shared across Samaritans’ 201 branches to help fund the work they do in their local communities, lending a listening ear to anyone who is going through a tough time.

Sarah openly shared her own story with fans. She told them how she called the Samaritans when she hit rock bottom after the break-up of her first marriage.

“I expected it to be like when you ring the bank with a bit of music and some options. Nope, they answer super-quietly and they just let you talk. And they’re there 24 hours a day every single day of the year for anyone who needs them.

“I’ve always known what smashers my audiences are, and they’ve done a great job yet again. Thank you, lovely people, for supporting Samaritans, such an incredible charity.”