Volunteers have been answering the phone to those in need of a listening ear, day and night, since 1972.
Over 100 active and retired listeners came together to mark this milestone at Burnley Football Club, Turf Moor, where local advocates, ambassadors, politicians, and civic dignitaries attended to show their gratitude for the work the Samaritans do.
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Long serving members were awarded special thanks, including Rachael King, who has been a listener in Pendle for 37 years. A founding member of the branch, Jack Binns was also present, alongside Arthur Bickerstaffe, who was also a volunteer in the 1970s.
Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham said, “I really want to say thank you to the Samaritans. It has been so humbling to hear about all the work they do. When you need them, the Samaritans are always there.
"It is truly life-saving work.”
A buffet lunch was served and photographs and press clippings from the last 50 years were on display. After a long period of isolation for many, the gathering was a welcome opportunity to reminisce, share experiences, and look to the future.The Mayor of Burnley Coun. Cosima Towneley said, “Walking into the room today I was immediately struck by how it felt just a like a family. All the volunteers are so unassuming.
"They are under the radar, yet we know they are always there when anyone is in crisis.”
As well as music chosen by volunteers to represent their favourites from the decades, branch director, Dale Hannah, shared his vision for the future saying: “It’s a privilege to lead such an amazing group of volunteers, who do so much to help others.
"This event has brought us together after a tough couple of years, and we are ready to build on the last 50 years work, and look to a positive future for our branch.”
Other guests at the event included Burnley Council Leader Coun. Afrasiab Anwar and Coun. Brian Newman, Deputy Mayor for Pendle.