A CHARITY has the following message for people feeling under pressure this Christmas – be it emotional, financial or physical: help is at hand.

Volunteers from The Samaritans took to the streets of Darlington on Saturday (December 15), to remind shoppers that they do not have to cope with the festive blues on their own.

The traditional colours of Father Christmas were swapped as volunteer Andy Bosomworth donned a blue Santa suit to hand out information on the charity’s services.

He said: “People have been coming up to us and are interested in who and what we are.

“A lot of people think they will never need us, but you never can tell when that could change.”

Mr Bosomworth alluded to how rewarding volunteering with the Samaritans can be.

He said: “Sometimes, it only takes that one person that you have helped, that has rang in and subsequently felt better.”

Liz McAllister, director of the Darlington and District branch of the Samaritans, said the charity has a spike in the number of calls it receives around Christmas.

She said: “It is the alone-ness and the sense that everyone else is enjoying themselves.”

Mrs McAllister said calls to the charity come from across the age range and social spectrum.

The Samaritans can be reached on 08457-90-90-90.