Duchess takes on Samaritans ambassador role

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Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent discusses support for Samaritans with fellow ambassador Audley Harrison

​The Duchess of Kent has been made an ambassador for Samaritans after many years of raising awareness

2nd August 2016 by Molly Millar 0 Comments

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Kent has become an ambassador for Samaritans.

For many years, the Duchess worked as a Samaritans volunteer herself, answering calls from people in need of support at a difficult or overwhelming point in their lives. From 1971 until 1999, she was the charity's royal patron.

She has maintained an interest in and fondness for the organisation, helping raise awareness of its life-saving work.

The opportunity to invite the Duchess to become an ambassador arose after a Samaritans volunteer on Teeside read about her previous work as a listening volunteer and wrote to the Duchess to express his gratitude. 

The Prince of Wales, who is Samaritans' Royal Patron, has welcomed the Duchess' renewed involvement in the charity.

Samaritans chief executive and volunteer Ruth Sutherland, who is this week celebrating a year since she joined the organisation, said: "We cannot express our thanks and excitement enough that Her Royal Highness has agreed to become an ambassador for Samaritans and to support our vision that fewer people die by suicide. The Duchess' experience as a volunteer, combined with her previous Royal Patronage of Samaritans, and her long-standing support for a range of initiatives aimed at improving the lives of those from less privileged backgrounds, will be invaluable to us.

"Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and of men and women aged 20 to 34. We also know that suicide is not equal. If you are middle-aged, male and from a poorer background, you are ten times more likely to take your own life than if you are from a wealthier background. We look forward to working with the Duchess to raise awareness of our services and to help address that inequality."

Her Royal Highness recently met with Audley Harrison MBE, the former Olympic champion boxer who has also become an ambassador for Samaritans. He has been leading campaigns for Samaritans aimed at men in particular, encouraging them to reach out for help if they are struggling, and to see asking for help as a strength rather than a weakness. 

Anyone can contact Samaritans, whatever you're going through. You can call us for free any time from any phone on 116 123, email [email protected] or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch where you can talk to one of our volunteers in person.