BBC broadcaster shows support for selfless volunteers during hometown return
PUBLISHED: 09:18 25 January 2018
A Samaritans branch received a visit from a special guest as they look to increase their pool of volunteers.
Zeb Soanes, who is originally from Lowestoft and is now a successful broadcaster, stopped off at the charity’s Lowestoft and Waveney branch earlier this week.
The Samaritans is designed to provide emotional support to anyone experiencing emotional distress, however severe it may be, and was established nationally in 1953. A Lowestoft and Waveney District branch was founded in 1967 and is now stationed on Beach Road.
Mr Soanes, widely recognised as the voice of the Shipping Forecast and a BBC Radio 4 newsreader, is a long-term supporter of the Samaritans and his return to Lowestoft included meeting those who give up their time to help.
“I’ve hosted a number of Samaritans events in the past and help out where I can,” said Mr Soanes.
“It really is a great cause because almost everybody knows somebody who has been in desperate circumstances at some stage in their lives.
“There’s so much pressure for people to put on a brave face but it’s great that the Samaritans are here to help.”
During his visit, Mr Soanes heard how the Samaritans is wholly reliant on volunteers who each dedicate around 4 hours to the charity per week.
The Lowestoft and Waveney branch currently has 41 volunteers, with some working as ‘listening volunteers’ who monitor the phone lines and others as ‘support volunteers’ who help with branch activities.
There are two phone lines at the base, but those in need of support often cannot get through because the lines are busy.
Margaret de Mierre, who oversees proceedings at the branch, stressed that the need for volunteers is greater than ever.
She said: “There’s a massive need because the calls, texts and emails from all over the country don’t stop.
“We don’t often know what happens to people after they call, but some ring back and say ‘I called before and thank you so much for your help.’
“We don’t do it for praise though; we do it because we want to help people.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Lowestoft and Waveney Samaritans should call 07927321788.