The history of our branch

Over 50 years of listening

In 2014, our Northallerton & Dales Branch celebrated 50 Years of listening in a rural area.

We were founded in 1964 at the request of the Coroner, because of his concerns at the high suicide rate in the farming community.

Amongst the founders were Alf Wight (James Herriot) and his partner Donald Sinclair (Siegfried Farnham), of TV's All Creatures Great and Small fame, and the various books written by Alf Wight about his experiences of being a vet in this part of the country. In those days we covered the whole of North Yorkshire, part of Darlington and Teesside areas.


A large and beautiful part of the country

We now cover 1,200 square miles of North Yorkshire from Hawes to Helmsley and south of the Tees, from Piercebridge to the villages just north of Easingwold.  Beautiful country, scattered population (119,000+) and a lot of sheep.

Two themes have always, and continue to, run through our history: shortage of volunteers and shortage of funds.  At this our 52nd year, we have 56 volunteers and our aim is to increase our numbers dramatically during this year. We're also working hard to increase our funds, with grant applications and fundraising events

We take calls for a wide variety of reasons, callers looking for someone to listen in confidence, to remain anonymous and speak about any area of their lives they may be struggling with, as we are completely non-judgemental, non-religious, non political and promise not to lecture but to support anyone in crisis.

Samaritans also communicate via SMS texting and emailing,  which is used widely by more and more people country and county wide.

In 2015, the Northallerton Branch took in excess of 20,000 calls (quite amazing for a small North Yorkshire Town). The need is growing year on year, hence the need to increase our volunteer base this year.


Dedicated volunteers

Our dedicated volunteers give many, many hours of their time to support people who are needing a listening ear and some really struggling to cope with life itself.  They also fundraise, publicise, and handle the many other jobs necessary to keep the branch functioning. If you are interested in joining us, get in touch here (be sure to choose Northallerton in the drop-down box).

The North York moors

The North York moors