Volunteer story - Mac

Mac from Luton branch has volunteered with Samaritans for the past 25 years. He tells us about what has changed in the organisation over the last quarter of a century.

"I first joined Samaritans in 1988, to simply ‘give something back’, as is common for most volunteers.

"I’ve held many positions at the branch in the last 25 years, including Leader, Chairman of the committee and Editor of our 500-odd page volume of telephone helplines, promoting emotional health via other agencies.

"One of the best feelings about being a volunteer is the occasional telephone call which make you feel very glad that you were there – the calls where you make a difference just by listening, calming down a caller who’s upset, or just giving them the time and space to listen and generally just ‘be’.

"The calls where a caller says ‘thank you’ because we have helped their relative, or even themselves, are always nice to hear, too.

"Over the years, I met Chad on a number of occasions, he was always extremely interesting to talk to.

"It is to the credit of all concerned that we as an organisation are continuing to develop our important work in our 60th year and I do not doubt that if the need is still there, we will continue for the next 60.

"I think what’s kept me volunteering at Samaritans is knowing that I, along with every other volunteer, is helping to improving the lot of our fellow neighbours, be it in the same street, town, county or country – though of course, we’ll never know exactly who they are.

"Ours is an essential service, and one that I’m privileged to be a part of.

"I do not see myself 'hanging up the phone' as long as I think I am giving useful service.

"I support a great many charities in a small way, most of them promoting the welfare of my fellow humans, but I have long thought that the most useful thing I ever did was to join Samaritans."