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Dorset's Samaritans Going Strong 60 Years On

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12:17pm 4th November 2013

60 years ago one man and his phone created the world's first helpline and today its members are reaching out to people in Dorset.

The Samaritans deal with thousands of people in distress every day and on average their phones ring once every 6 seconds. Those phones are manned by 20,000 dedicated volunteers in 200 branches.

The charity was founded in November 1953 by Prebendary Dr Chad Varah CH CBE. The idea was seeded after he conducted the funeral of a 14 year old girl who had taken her own life, after she started menstruating and thought she was gravely ill. Chad vowed at her graveside to devote himself to helping other people overcome the sort of isolation and ignorance that had caused the girl to die in this way. He would do it through a combination of education and the provision of access to emotional support in times of need.

Today, volunteers in Dorset continue to work hard to keep Dr Varah's dream alive and they're celebrating their diamond year and say they want your help to stay afloat for another 60 years.

Stephen Hoddell, Chair of Samaritans said:

"Meeting the future challenge of the next 60 years is very important to us. Communication using digital technology is becoming more common. Our ambitions are to continue invest in new technologies so we can provide services in the online environment, making it as safe as possible to support vulnerable people.

This will enable us to reach out to even more people who just need someone to listen when there is no one else."

To mark Samaritans' diamond year, the charity is asking people to help them be there for the next 60 years. Please text 'SUPPORT' to 70123* to make a £3 donation.

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