BOURNEMOUTH Samaritans said ‘It’s good to talk’ as the charity celebrated its 60th birthday on Saturday.

Volunteers from the organisation met at the BT phone box in Avenue Road before proceeding into the Square to hand out balloons to mark the anniversary.

The telecommunications company gave the Samaritans free advertising space in the Bournemouth phone kiosk as part of the event.

Dr Andrew Mayers, patron of the town’s branch, said: “The charity nationally is celebrating this big birthday, and the Bournemouth branch is 51, so we were one of the first outside London to become properly established.

“There are around 120 volunteers in Bournemouth, and they do a lot of different things.”

Calls come in to the town’s volunteers from around the country, but the number is set to rise as the festive season approaches.

Dr Mayers, a senior lecturer in psychology at Bournemouth University, said: “Calls can come from anywhere as they have to be answered. The volunteers listen without judgement, and the calls are absolutely confidential, so anyone in need can talk to us whenever they need to.

“Christmas can be a very lonely time and the frequency of calls does tend to go up.”

He said more volunteers are always needed. Part of the celebrations at the weekend was simply to raise awareness,” he said.

“If anyone feels they can help, we would urge them to get in touch. There is always a need for more compassionate people to help.”

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