His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited Gloucester Samaritans branch to pay tribute to the vital work of Samaritans as he unveiled a new plaque celebrating the branches 50th anniversary
Gloucester Samaritans celebrates a special birthday with a Royal visit
The Prince visited the Park End Road branch in October to meet volunteers and thank them for the vital work they do to support people through their times of need. His Royal Highness, who has been Samaritans’ patron since 1999, had been invited to visit by the Branch Director, Susan, as part of their 50th birthday celebrations. HRH took time to chat to some of the branch volunteers who have been part of Gloucester’s long history over a cup of tea, made with a spoonful of local honey.
The Prince of Wales, said: “I can’t tell you how proud I am to be involved in such a remarkable organisation. It’s amazing that this branch has been going for 50 years. You are such an amazing credit to this country in terms of what you do, all the time, for so long – I know one (volunteer) has been here for 50 years, others 40, 30 and so on. So you are, if I may say so, the absolute backbone of what is required and are here for people who otherwise wouldn’t get the help they need. “I hope this anniversary will remind you just how important you all are.”
Susan Raftree, Branch Director at Gloucester Samaritans, said: "It was a great honour to welcome our Royal Patron, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to our branch, celebrating our 50th anniversary.
"We are delighted to have His Royal Highness help us celebrate the 50th birthday of Gloucester & District Samaritans, speak to volunteers, and see first-hand their devotion to supporting people who need it, especially during this challenging time. It is thanks to our amazing volunteers that we've been able to be here throughout the pandemic, and over the past 50 years.
"The Prince of Wales taking the time to visit us means so much to everyone here and now we look forward to being here for anyone in need of support for the next fifty years and beyond!"
Kathy Harding, a Samaritans listening volunteer since 1966, said: “To welcome His Royal Highness to the branch to celebrate our 50th year is amazing. The pandemic has created huge difficulties for many people, and I’m so proud how Samaritans volunteers have risen to the challenge.
“For our efforts to be recognised and celebrated by The Prince is absolutely fantastic, and very poignant at a special moment for everyone at Gloucester and District Samaritans.”
Volunteers were thrilled to chat with the Prince during his visit, and talk about their volunteering with the branch. After he had left, the branch celebrated his visit with hot tea and cake!