THEIR office in Chesterfield is an unassuming place that wouldn’t cause passers-by to give it a second glance.

But the work that goes on inside is remarkable indeed. Everyone has heard of the Samaritans - but perhaps few have contemplated the lives of those dedicated to being at the end of a phone 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to be a listening ear to those in the deepest despair.

It’s astonishing that Samaritans currently receives less than 2% of income from government and statutory sources.

The majority of their funding comes from individuals, trusts and companies, without whom they would not be able to carry on providing an emotional support. The Chesterfield branch of the Samaritans is 40 years old this year. Four decades of listening, of reaching out.

And while calls can be logged and details taken, no-one can really know how many people have been helped - indeed, how many lives have been saved. Vicki Smith, sums things up in our article on pages 10 and 11: “they (callers) open up to you about everything in their life in one phone call - and you probably will never speak to them again”.

We wish the Chesterfield Samaritans all the best for the next 40 years.