Monday, November 04, 2013

Chad, the National and a Special day

Sixty years ago Chad Varah – a London vicar - founded Samaritans.  He was inspired by an experience he had as a young curate in Lincoln when a 14 year old girl killed herself.  She believed she had an STD when in reality she was just menstruating.
 Varah advertised for people to volunteer at his church to listen to people contemplating suicide.  The movement grew and there are now 203 branches across the UK and Ireland.

 In 2004 the number of volunteers had diminished and they campaigned to recruit more young people.  Phil Selway a drummer with the band Radiohead and a volunteer himself fronted the campaign.

 The Samaritans is a telephone helpline which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  There is also a drop-in service for face to face discussion and they train prisoners as’Listeners’ to provide support within prisons.  Recently they have started sending teams out on to the street.

 The Samaritans have always stressed that the service they provide is not counselling and will not give advice.  Although they are trained in many of the same techniques as professional counsellors they neither judge nor tell people what to do.  By listening and asking questions the volunteers help people explore their feelings and work their own way forward.

 Samaritans do not denounce suicide and it is not necessary to be suicidal to contact them.  They believe that by giving people the opportunity to be listened to in confidence and accepted without prejudice enables them to explore their feelings and work their own way forward.

 There is a strict code of confidentiality, even after the death of a caller.  This is only broken on rare occasions such as when Samaritans receive a bomb or terrorist warnings or when a caller is threatening volunteers or deliberately preventing the service being used by other callers.


On a lighter note it is the 50th anniversary of our great National Theatre which first started in 1963 at the Old Vic under Laurence Olivier.

 ‘ 800 productions later we are marking our half century with a short season celebrating the remarkable people and plays that have made the NT one of the most cherished and creative of great British institutions.’
I count myself fortunate to have seen some of these.  I particularly remember the excitement and anticipation before Olivier’s first entrance as Othello.  Of course now it would be unthinkable to have a white actor ‘blacked up’ to play the part but times were different then.  There was a gasp as he appeared; he seemed to have grown in stature – his voice had dropped a couple of octaves, reminiscent of Paul Robeson
And there was a stillness about him which made all his later rage and fury totally riveting. 
Oh and he carried a beautiful long- stemmed red rose on his entrance which we were led to believe was delivered each day by his wife, Joan Plowright, from their garden.

It would have been MTL’s birthday today.  He used to mark important dates in the diaries at the beginning of the year and - unbeknownst to me had written:-


November 4th – A’s Birthday?










Kim Ayres said...


AndrewM said...

Such a good post, you posted it twice!

Good work, Keep it up.

rosneath said...

a tough day - lots of thoughts speeding your way

Z said...

Love to you, Pat xxx

Exile on Pain Street said...

I didn't know anything about the Samaritans. Thanks for schooling me.

You saw Olivier in Othello?! That's quite a get. I was lucky enough to see Anthony Hopkins in the National's landmark production, Pravda. They didn't SAY he was playing Rupert Murdoch, but we all knew better.

lom said...

So good they named it twice :D

Granny Annie said...

November 7th is Ron's Birthday.

Pat said...

Kim: :)

AndrewM: now corrected but can't get rid of the gap before the comments. If I fiddle too much I'll lose the whole caboosh.

Roseneath: much appreciated.

Z: thank you Zoe

Exile: I think I remember him having an extraordinary accent.
You must have something similar to Samaritans surely?

LOM: all because I corrected an error. Normally they replace the copy with the error with the corrected one.

Granny Annie: these days just have to be endured. I'll be thinking of you.xox

Chef Files said...

I heard that Sir Larry has a wee photie of you on his wall. Cannae blame him though, you are quite a stunner.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I love the idea of The Samaritans....Sometimes all a person needs is to be listened to without comment or judgement....

Not an easy day today, my dear Pat....
Sending you BIG BIG Hugs, dear sweet Pat.

angryparsnip said...

Lovely post today but also a sad one.
Sending you a big hug.

Woofs from the Square Ones
cheers, parsnip

maurcheen said...



Ms Scarlet said...

More hugs.

Pat said...

Chef: och awa' wi' ye!

Naomi: nearly over now and I know all our families share the sadness.

Parsnip: love to you and the boys.

Pat said...

Maurchen and Scarlet: thank you.

Gadjo Dilo said...

To my shame I didn't know the name Chad Varah, so thank you for pointing me to some information about this modern-day hero. I've also spent many hours at The National - happy memories.

Pat said...

Gadjo: he is now departed of course.
I think there was a golden age in the National which we were lucky to have seen.

SDC said...

So YTL was a scorpio. What sign are you Pat? Just curious....

Guyana-Gyal said...

We need Samaritans here! Suicide is high. I still think about the man on the seawall, how he must have been in such pain. He'd told his friends but they didn't take him seriously. so one newspaper said. My neighbour too said he was such a lovely man. 71 years old.

I'm going to find out about starting something here.

Pat said...

SDC: yes he was Scorpio and I'm Pisces.

GG: It would be wonderful if you could start a version of Samaritans.
You probably know I was a Samaritan
for years and someone close to me - I'm not meant to talk about it - is very involved in the present format.
Let me know if you want to ask any questions which might be helpful and I'll pass them on to him.