Norwich Samaritans are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Director to manage the branch.
The new post-holder, Bill Ashton, was nominated by his fellow volunteers to lead the team of 200 volunteers at Norwich branch of Samaritans’. Bill will commence his new three year role with immediate effect.
With seven years’ experience as a Samaritans volunteer answering calls from people struggling to cope. Bill has also taken on the responsibility of Deputy Director and Trustee over the years.
An International Banker, Bill and his family have lived and worked in several different countries as well as London and Edinburgh. He retired early to take up ocean racing and has completed a round the world yacht race. After the race he and his wife, Mary, moved back to Norwich and after obtaining a degree from UEA, Bill joined the Samaritans. He has been involved with various charities both overseas and in the UK and, in addition to Samaritans, is also Chairman of Norwich Open Christmas Ltd.
Bill said that he first became interested in the work of the Samaritans many years ago, through an uncle who was a volunteer and explained the service they provided. However it was only after he finished at UEA that he had the necessary time to become a volunteer and applied to join the Samaritans in Norwich.
Norwich Samaritans volunteers answer more than 45,000 calls a year from people going through a tough time. They support people by phone, email, text and face-to-face at its branch, which has been helping local people for over 50 years. The branch also runs Listener schemes in both HMP Norwich and Bure, the scheme trains volunteer prisoners to provide the Samaritans service to fellow prisoners.
Norwich Samaritans are also on hand every Saturday at the Millennium Library in Norwich to answer any questions about the work of Samaritans or to be a listening ear to those in need.
New Director Bill Ashton said: “I’m honoured to have been chosen as Director for the Norwich branch of Samaritans. I hope that during my time we can continue to provide a service that meets the needs of our callers, using whichever medium they feel most comfortable with. I want to attract new volunteers so that we can reach out to even more people either directly through our own outreach or working with other charities and organisations. “
Bill also said: “On behalf of everyone at the branch I’d like to say a huge thank you to David Saunders, the outgoing Director for all his leadership andhard work over the last three years.”