SUICIDAL and distraught residents called the Samaritans in Bournemouth more than 36,000 times last year, according to new figures.

The charity’s 115 volunteers in the town took almost 100 calls a day from those in distress – and are seeking more people willing to give up their time to help ease the load.

The branch’s patron, Dr Andrew Mayers, heaped praise on the ‘resilience’ of the volunteers who are required to show compassion and sympathy for suicidal people on a daily basis.

He said: “The Samaritans are doing phenomenal work to support the most distressed people in our community at the time when they need it most.

“When people call the Samaritans they can be assured that nothing is ever passed on and is kept completely confidential.

“To be able to talk about it in a way that they can’t elsewhere can be a lifesaver.”

He added that the charity is always looking for new volunteers of varying background and ages to help.

The actual number of calls in 2014 was down from 45,916 in 2013, with many people now using text messages and emails for advice, meaning volunteers have to use a broader range of skills than ever.

The Bournemouth director of Samaritans, known only as Rose, said: “Samaritans wouldn’t exist without the dedication of our volunteers.

“As well as listening on the helpline, there are lots of ways people can get involved with Samaritans, whether it’s fundraising, marketing, helping with admin or IT, or offering other valuable skills. We are always looking for new volunteers, so get in touch.”

George, a graphic designer by trade and volunteer at Samaritans of Bournemouth and District for more than 40 years, said: “Volunteering for the Samaritans is so rewarding. I get far more back than I put in. We listen and care for people. What the Samaritans do is so simple and yet so effective”.

Find out more about volunteering for Samaritans by calling 08705 627282 or emailing