Scottish Parliament celebrates 60th birthday of Samaritans

A Reception to mark the 60th birthday of Samaritans will be held in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood on Tuesday 19 November from 6 – 8pm.

Sponsored by Aileen McLeod MSP, the Reception will see nearly 300 current and former volunteers from Samaritans branches across Scotland join MSPs from all parties. They will celebrate six decades of providing a listening ear to people in Scotland who are struggling to cope.

Scotland has been at the heart of Samaritans since the earliest days of the organisation. Edinburgh was the second branch to open in the UK and Glasgow was the fourth. Founder of Samaritans, Prebendary Dr Chad Varah CH CBE, took the very first call to the helpline in his church of St Stephen Wallbrook in the City of London on 2 November 1953.

For more information about the work of Samaritans, please contact Samaritans’ press office on: 020 8394 8300 or email

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To mark Samaritans’ diamond year, the charity is asking people to help them be there for the next 60 years. Please text ‘SUPPORT’ to 70123* to make a £3 donation.

Notes to editors:

Interview opportunities are available with long-standing volunteers who can discuss the way Samaritans has developed over the last 60 years, including Trustee Keith Walker and 93 year old Kay McMillan, a founding member of Glasgow Samaritans, who has spent 53 years as a volunteer.
Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call  116 123, email, or visit to find details of the nearest branch.