Brighton & Hove Albion fans, staff and players will be reminded that some things are even more important than football, as the team takes on Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday.
The game will be a memorial to Seagulls fan and Samaritans volunteer Jill Howell, who died in sad circumstances in October 2017. The charity has been working with the Club to make the day a time for fans look out for each other and learn more about how to lend a listening ear if friends, family or colleagues could be going through a tough time.
Players including Pascal Gross, Leon Balogun, Glenn Murray, Florin Andon and Bernardo have helped create a video promoting Samaritans’ S.H.U.S.H Listening Tips throughout the stadium.
It’s about showing you’re willing to listen, giving people your time, and not being put off if it takes a while before they are ready to open up.
Lisa Rodrigues is a volunteer from the local branch of Samaritans in Brighton and Hove, which is one of 201 branches across the UK and Ireland offering a free listening ear to anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed, for whatever reason. Lisa knew Jill as a volunteer and fellow Seagulls supporter too.
She said, “Jill was not only kind, calm and lovely to volunteer with, she was also a friend. We’d often talk about football, Jill travelled to nearly every away game.
“On Saturday, we want to let people know about Samaritans’ services in their local community, but it’s also about saying that anyone can be a good listener, whether that’s for the person you’re standing next to at football, or anywhere else in your life. We know that if Jill were here today, she’d love the idea. So it’s the best possible tribute we can pay her.”
Albion Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman, Paul Barber, says the Club is proud to be supporting Samaritans.
“Jill was dedicated to our club as a fan and committed to helping other people as a Samaritans volunteer. We are grateful to her family for the opportunity to promote the really important work Samaritans does and the difference simply listening can make. Look out for their volunteers handing out tips on ways to listen and get involved. Let’s show how powerful the football family can be when we work together like this – even Gully is going to be joining in!”
Both teams' managers will be wearing Samaritans badges to show their support on the day. Albion boss Chris Hughton is also proud of everyone at the Club for backing the initiative:
“The Seagulls are a massive part of the local community and we know we can count on our fans to support what we do on and off the pitch. Anyone can feel overwhelmed when life is tough, but anyone can offer support too. If today makes a difference to just one person who’s struggling, letting them know help is out there and that people do care, then it will be a success.”
Anyone can contact Samaritans any time for free from any phone on 116 123. This number is free to call and will not show up on your phone bill. Or email [email protected] or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your local branch where you can talk to a trained volunteers face to face.
For more information, photos and interviews, please contact Samaritans’ Press Office: [email protected] or 020 8394 8396 / 07943 809 162 (out of hours).
Note to editors:
- Samaritans responds to more than 5 million calls for help a year.
- Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 trained volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope. Your money or your time could save a life. Find out how you can volunteer or support us: www.samaritans.org.