THE Lord Mayor of Portsmouth has been helping to raise awareness about the work the Samaritans do.
Wednesday was Samaritans Awareness Day and Councillor Lynne Stagg joined the director of Portsmouth Samaritans Mary Noble and 11 volunteers in Commercial Road.
The event was just one of more than 40 events that took place across the UK and Ireland.
Mary said: ‘It went very well. We were there just handing out leaflets and telling people that we always welcome new volunteers.
‘We were generally raising awareness.’
Volunteers were also giving out balloons.
They invited people to fill in a worry board, giving them a chance to express their biggest concerns.
‘People gave us money and said we’ve helped them or somebody they know. That was very encouraging,’ said Mary.
‘The Lord Mayor was fantastic.
‘She went round with the collection bucket.
‘We want to get across the message that it’s not just for people who are suicidal.
‘It’s for anybody who is in distress.
‘We were interacting with the public the whole time. It was great.’
Portsmouth is raising awareness of the importance of talking about problems, and reminding people of its vital support for anyone struggling to cope.
Cllr Stagg said: ‘The work the Samaritans do is fantastic, and it’s such an important service.
‘I was thrilled to help them with some fundraising, I told them to give me a tabard and got to work.
‘People were very generous and we raised lots of money.
‘I support all the charities in Portsmouth and all the volunteers behind them, because they really are unsung heroes.’
More than 92 volunteers at Portsmouth answer 38,000 calls for help every year.
This is a momentous year for the Samaritans as the charity celebrates its 60th anniversary of founder, Prebendary Dr Chad Varah CH CBE, starting the service on November 2, 1953.
To find out more please visit samaritans.org.