Colchester celebrated its 50th in 2014

2014 was our year of celebration. We opened our doors in Colchester back in 1964 and had been offering our services to the residents of Colchester, Tendring and Suffolk borders - without a break - for 50 years. Here are just some of the celebratory events that took place ...

Saturday May 17th 2014
Lunch at Walsingham Road Community Hall
- our main bash for all our volunteers. May 17th was our actual birthday, celebrating the day when the phone went live back in May 1964, and many of our volunteers - both past and present - turned up for a memorable buffet lunch. A time-line history of the branch was also unveiled, highlighting the achievements of the branch over the past 50 years.
See pictures of the event here

Thursday June 12th 2014
Golf Day with lunch at Clacton Golf Club
Clacton-on-Sea Golf Club was the venue on 12th June for a Charity Golf Day in aid of Colchester Samaritans, which raised £2,865 for the branch. The sell-out event saw players finishing 18 holes in spectacular weather, with a welcome lunch to follow at the Club House. Director of Colchester Samaritans, Virginia Druitt, was on hand to present prizes to golfers who “beat the pro” and to winners of Ladies’ and Men’s “nearest the pin” competitions, as well as to the overall winning pair – local golfers Dave Stones and David Burrage.
See pictures of the event here
Saturday June 14th 2014
Samaritans National Walk on the South Downs

A team of twenty one volunteers and supporters from Colchester Samaritans (the biggest group from any of the nationwide Samaritans’ branches) took part in the annual Samaritans National Walk on Saturday 14th June and raised much needed funds to help pay for the service they offer to the public and for repairs to their Walsingham Road premises. The volunteers, who are more used to sitting and listening to callers in crisis and distress, walked a combined total of 350 miles along the South Downs in West Sussex. The annual event, organised this year by Worthing Samaritans and attended by 190 other Samaritans and supporters from around the country, has raised over £1,700 for the local Colchester branch through sponsorship alone, with promises of more donations to come.
Go to our fundraising page at Virgin Money Giving if you would still like to support us.
See pictures of the event here

Saturday June 21st 2014
Say it with Flowers at Colchester Castle Park

This was quite a coup for us, having beaten off stiff competition for the honour of having a floral display celebrating our 50th anniversary right outside Colchester's historic castle. This will be seen by thousands of people throughout the summer months. The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr. John Elliott unveiled Colchester Borough’s birthday gift to Colchester Samaritans, a flower badge border in Upper Castle Park on Saturday 21st June, saying: “For 50 years Colchester Samaritans has played a vital role in supporting people in our local community in their times of distress and difficulty, and I salute you and thank you. Please continue to support our community for another 50 years.” Thanking the Mayor for his birthday congratulations, Colchester Samaritans’ director Virginia Druitt expressed appreciation to Colchester Borough Parks Department for creating the flower badge border honouring “50 Years of Listening”.
See pictures of the event here

Sunday June 22nd 2014
Thames Sailing Barge Cruise

Colchester Samaritans' volunteers, family and friends had a fun day sailing to and from Maldon on an all day cruise. We took over the whole boat and had a marvellous time sailing along the Thames estuary, with glorious weather and copious food and drink. An indulgent day for us all, but a good way to celebrate our anniversary.
See pictures of the event here

Sunday July 13th 2014
Songs of Love and Loss - a Musical Evening with the Kelvedon Singers

with Bucks Fizz and delicious nibbles, at St Peter’s Church, Coggeshall; all proceeds going to Colchester Sams. The programme included madrigals, choral settings of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and Yeats, Victorian ballads, as well as a medley of familiar songs from the First World War.
See pictures of the event here

Saturday September 13th 2014
Last Night of the Proms
at the Assembly Rooms in Dedham
Over 100 people packed Dedham Assembly Rooms on Saturday 13th September to celebrate the Last Night of the Proms in traditional style. A live feed from the Royal Albert Hall to a giant screen in the Assembly Rooms brought the flag-waving audience to its feet for the climax of what is described as the greatest music festival in the world, with lusty singing of Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem. And we rasied £1,225 in the process!

Friday October 31st 2014
Quiz Night
at Walsingham Road Community Hall
The hugely popular annual Samaritans Quiz Night returned this year with our support volunteer host and Quiz Master - David. This year's quiz celebrated our 50th Anniversary, raising just under £700 for branch funds.

Wednesday November 12th 2014
Sporting Dinner
at Colchester Rugby Club
Irish international rugby full back Geordan Murphy was guest speaker at a Sporting Dinner at Colchester Rugby Club, jointly organised by The Rotary Club of Colchester and Colchester Samaritans on Wednesday 12th November 2014. Murphy is one of Ireland’s most capped players and was a leading force in many Premiership triumphs of his club, Leicester Tigers. The evening raised £2,700 for the branch.

Saturday November 29th 2014
Xmas Book Fair
at Walsingham Road Community Hall
As well as the usual monthly book fairs held at WRCH, the one held on 29th November was billed as a 'Christmas Special Book Fair Bonanza’, and netted a record profit for the branch, both in terms of book sales and for cakes and refreshments. A great boost for the operational running costs of Colchester Samaritans.