Festival volunteers hailed at Samaritans event

NW200 representatives and Samaritans volunteers pictured during the NW200 reception at Samaritans Lodge Road, Coleraine on Friday evening. Included are; Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan, Mayor, and Councillor Trevor Clarke. INCR21-306PL

NW200 representatives and Samaritans volunteers pictured during the NW200 reception at Samaritans Lodge Road, Coleraine on Friday evening. Included are; Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan, Mayor, and Councillor Trevor Clarke. INCR21-306PL

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Samaritans, Coleraine and District hosted a welcome event for their Festival Colleagues from all over Ireland.

These are fully and specially trained Samaritan volunteers who give up their time to attend events and festivals to offer face to face support to anyone facing problems, however big or small, and who need to open up and talk.

Following a welcome by Kate, the Coleraine and District Samaritan Director, John Wilson, Operational Manager of the North West 200, said: “I believe this is the 11th year of Festival Samaritans attending the NW 200 and as always their contribution and presence is much needed and appreciated.

“As the NW 200 itself is only possible with the contribution from the volunteers who support us we realise the importance of volunteers”

John invited the Samaritans to visit the Coleraine and District Motor Club to talk about their work in the local area and beyond.

The new Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Michelle Knight McQuillan also attended accompanied by Cllr Trevor Clark.

A big bikes and motorsports fan, councillor Knight McQuillan expressed her thanks at being invited to the event and she reiterated the importance of volunteers to society.

She said that she believed the need for services like Samaritans are increasingly important and especially in a rural community where the problems of isolation seem to be rising and she stated her appreciation of the Festival volunteers commitment.

Many had travelled from as far afield as Cork, Waterford and Sligo to give up their own time and unlike many others who would be enjoying the warm hospitality of our local hotels/B&Bs they would be sleeping in a hall on the floor in a sleeping bag!

As the invited guests and volunteers enjoyed a supper prepared and served by volunteers from Coleraine Branch, Liam Beckett, as Coleraine Branch Ambassador, also welcomed all the guests.

The last words of the evening were from Festival Volunteers themselves.

Gerry thanked everyone for their welcome and kind words and expressed his “thanks once again to John, Mervyn and all the organisers of NW200 who have yet again offered all the support and practical help needed to provide this much important and much needed service throughout the entire Race Weekend.”

Gerry went on to remind everyone that “even in a crowd people can be lonely and that events such as the North West can often stir up memories of times and people gone and maybe happier times. However no matter what the problem, however big or small, we are there to listen in confidence and without judgement.”

If at anytime you need to contact Samaritans, drop in at 20 Lodge Road, Coleraine or to call on 028 703 20000 or email jo@samaritans.org