Guest speakers, former directors and former volunteers attend party
Heena Johnson (2nd left) is joined by six of her predecessors. Pictured (l-r) are Ann (2015), Heena (2022), John (2010), Sue (2003), Mike (2013) Paul (2000) and John (1996 & 2017).
Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans has celebrated their 50th anniversary with a party attended by local VIPS, 120 past and present volunteers, six of the branch’s former directors and the chair of the national charity’s trustees.
During the 21 May event at OPENEaling in Dickens Yard, Ealing guests heard a brief history of the Branch from long-time volunteer Mary Sergeant. Later, television and radio journalist John Sergeant interviewed special guest Dave Matthews, the Samaritans volunteer from Doncaster who’s recently completed a 6,100-mile fundraising walk to visit every one of the 201 Samaritans branches in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Heena Johnson, the 17th director of the Samaritans branch said: “It was a very special night and a particular honour to have all three mayors from the communities we serve: Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow.”
“I’d also like to thank those companies who supported the event with refreshments, raffle prizes, or services, notably Waitrose West Ealing, John Lewis and Sxollie and OPENEaling, along with Dalylesford Organic, Pitzhanger Manor, LifeSpa, the Moon & Maybe, Côte, Oliver Bonas. KallKwik Ealing, Helen Trevisiol Duff, Cathryn Shilling, 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel and Gardonyi's Music Shop.”
Harban Midha consort to the Deputy Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Mohinder Midha; Ealing volunteer Mary Sergeant; Dave Matthews; Mayor of Hounslow Councillor Bishnu Gurung; Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central and Acton; Keith Leslie Chair of Trustees of the Samaritans; John Sergeant; Mayor of Hammersmith, Councillor PJ Murphy.
Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans opened on Friday 21 January 1972 in the basement of a condemned church in Windsor Road, the founding members of Ealing Samaritans took their first phone calls from people seeking emotional support.
Since then, 2,242 volunteers from Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow have been trained to handle an estimated one million phone calls.
The west London Samaritans’ first HQ was in the basement of the church hall of the former Broadway Methodist Church which had been scheduled for demolition as part of a subsequently abandoned town centre regeneration scheme.
In 1987 the branch moved to its present home, a former Fullers off-licence in Junction Road, South Ealing.
The Ealing HQ of the local Samaritans
As well as manning the phones, the Branch participates in the Rail Industry Suicide prevention programme which aims to reduce suicide on the railways and to support everyone affected by them.
It also runs the Listener Scheme at Wormwood Scrubs prison where a group of prisoners is selected and trained to offer emotional support to other prisoners who are experiencing feelings of distress.
All Samaritans branches are individual charities run entirely by volunteers and Ealing, Hammersmith & Hounslow Samaritans (registered charity number 1173588) is only able to continue to support those in despair and distress thanks to donations, legacies and fundraising by the Branch.
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May 27, 2022