SAMARITANS and the Countess of Chester Hospital have celebrated 20 years of partnership.

The accident and emergency department might be the last place that people expect to see a Samaritan but every Monday night for the last 20 years members of Chester and District Samaritans have been on hand there to listen to those who want to talk.

In November 1992, Richard – the then Samaritan director – and shift leader Darroll, both of whom are still active Samaritan volunteers, worked closely with hospital staff to start the weekly Samaritan sessions in the department.

Two volunteers are on duty each Monday and their role is to help make what can be a daunting experience easier to cope with.

Working in the hospital is very different to the usual Samaritan setting but the volunteers offer the same careful compassionate listening while at the same time not getting in the way of the hospital staff doing their vital work.

Jo Windsor, a member of A&E staff, said: “There’s always an atmosphere of calm on the unit when Samaritans are around, the patients and staff really appreciate the Samaritans being here.”

Debbie, current branch director at Chester, said: “People finding themselves in A&E may have many different reasons for feeling upset – we hope that by listening and being there we can help them during their time in the department.

“We look forward to many more years of hospital outreach at the Countess.”

Chester Samaritans are always looking for new volunteers. Call the Chester branch on 01244 377 999, email or visit Chester Samaritans in person between 10am and 10pm (10am-6pm on Saturdays) at 36 Upper Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 4EF. For details of other branches, visit