A Putney Samaritan has opened up after deciding to volunteering for the first time this Christmas.

Sue Peart, 60, will join more than 1,000 listening volunteers at Samaritans branches across the UK and Ireland to respond to thousands of calls for help from people feeling overwhelmed on December 25.

After a difficult year that saw her leave her job as a successful national newspaper magazine editor and the passing of her mum, Sue started training as a listening volunteer at Samaritans’ Putney branch in early 2019.

Sue said: “I was struggling with the fact my career had come to an end and then I faced the grief of losing my mum. It set the seal on a terrible year- I call it my ‘year of the pancake’ - the year when everything ‘flipped’.

“I won’t forget how comforting it was to have Samaritans’ number by my bedside, just in case I needed to call in the middle of the night. I could never have predicted that I would become a volunteer for Samaritans. Having been through difficult times myself, I realised how important it was to be there for someone in need.

“It’s a time of year that can be a pressure-point for people, particularly if you’re going to be spending Christmas on your own, all the emphasis on happy families can make you feel even more alone. Personally, I know this Christmas will be tough for me as it will be one year since I lost my mum.

“With suicide rates on the rise, Samaritans has never been more of a lifeline. It would be a tragedy if Samaritans wasn’t able to be there for those in distress. Making a donation will ensure we’re there for everyone who needs help. It’s a 24/7 service, and your gift will help pay for that and the training for volunteers like me.”

The charity is asking people to send a Christmas gift to help Samaritans continue to be there to listen to people who need emotional support and change someone’s story for the better this Christmas.

Be a part of someone’s story – send a gift to help them change it for the better by clicking here.

Samaritans’ services are there for anyone who needs them this Christmas and every single day of the year.

Anyone can contact Samaritans free any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit