Rotarian recognised for long service as charity volunteers tell of their work (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Rotarian recognised for long service as charity volunteers tell of their work
12:10pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in News
LONG-SERVING Darlington Rotarian Mike Swinney was recognized for his 42 years with the club at a recent meeting, which was also attended by two charity stalwarts.
Mr Swinney, who has acted as the group’s sports officer and organised Christmas parties for children with special educational needs, was presented with honorary membership of the club by Darlington Rotary president Roland Lang.
Two members of the Darlington branch of the Samaritans talked to Rotarians about the work of they and their colleagues do as part of the UK national network of 198 branches manned by more than 20,000 volunteers.
Liz McAllister, past president of both the Darlington branch and the regional committee introduced her colleague Norma Baines a past director and currently Recruitment Officer of the branch.
Mrs Baines who has had many roles in her 37 years as a Samaritan was last year selected as a Diamond Jubilee volunteer and described all of their volunteers as ordinary people doing a job that they wanted to do following the work of Chad Varah, a London vicar who founded the organisation in 1953.
Today, one person contacts Samaritans every ten seconds.
The Darlington and District branch was formed in 1968 with premises in Woodland Road, from where a round-the-clock service is provided.
Last year they received more than 25,500 phone calls, as well as thousands of e-mails and texts.
Each branch is an independent charity responsible for its own funding and at Darlington £35,000 is needed each year which has to be raised.
They are always looking for new volunteers who if selected are give specialist intensive training.
On being questioned about hoax calls, Mrs Baines said every call was taken seriously as someone who sounded silly could be testing to see what level of reaction they would get and could have a genuine problem.