A Samaritans Scotland listening volunteer swapped her headset for a new hat to attend a garden party in Edinburgh hosted by The King.
Deborah Hughes, 46, was delighted to discover she had been chosen by the charity’s Edinburgh branch to attend the occasion at the Palace of Holyroodhouse - The King’s Official residence when he is in Scotland.
The branch was asked to nominate a volunteer to attend the party on July 4 by the Rt Hon Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, Robert Aldridge, and drew names from a hat.
Deborah, from Midlothian, explained: “I screamed a lot when I saw the email inviting me to attend, then immediately phoned every single family member and all my friends!
“It was lovely to get a new hat and get dressed up for the occasion with my husband, Craig. The weather was absolutely shocking – it rained all day! But we still had the best time.”
Deborah is mum to Jackson, 9, and works full-time in financial services. She joined Samaritans Scotland as a listening volunteer, working shifts around her job to provide emotional support to callers.
She said: “The most challenging thing is not knowing what is coming, you answer that call and you have no idea what the person is going to say, but as I do more shifts it is becoming a little easier.
“I get a real sense of making a difference after every shift, just being a voice on the other end of a phone can have such a positive impact on the caller. It is often very apparent and the caller will tell you that – that’s why I do the role.”