Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Chad Varah

Chad Varah, the founder of the Samaritans, has died at the age of 95.

Dr Varah founded the internationally known helpline for those contemplating suicide, in the crypt of St. Stephen Walbrook in the City of London, in 1953.

He saw that there was a great need "to befriend the suicidal and despairing", after conducting the funeral of a 13-year-old girl who had taken her own life.

She believed that she had somehow contracted a sexually transmitted disease and would die a painful death, bringing shame to her family and friends. In fact, she was experiencing her first period.

Prince Charles, patron of the Samaritans, said that Chad Varah was an "utterly remarkable man", who had "saved the lives of countless people since 1953."

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, commented "his instinct that a listening and sympathetic ear could make a difference has proved to be enormously important to those who felt alone and with nowhere to turn to."

The Archbishop went on to point out that "his vision and energy is a legacy that stretches far beyond the Church and far beyond these shores. He will be greatly missed."

Chad Varah died peacefully in hospital in Basingstoke on 8th November, at the age of 95.