December - Samaritans

Samaritans was founded in 1953 by the Rev. Edward Chad Varah, who was always known as Chad.

Chad began to understand the problems facing those with suicidal thoughts when he was officiating at the funeral of a fourteen -year-old girl who had taken her own life because she had started to menstruate and feared that she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

Orpington Branch

For some time, Chad had been concerned at the lack of support for those in distress who were contemplating suicide, so decided to investigate what (if any) support was available. He discovered that there was very little available through the Welfare State, and so he decided to try to do something about it. This led him starting what he called “A 999 service for the suicidal” using one telephone in the crypt of his church: St. Stephen, Walbrook in the City of London, and taking his first call in November 1953.

The press got to hear of what Chad was doing and an article in The Mirror in December 1953 carried the headline “Telephone Good Samaritan”, the name stuck, and the rest is history.

The service grew, and soon became too much for one man to handle, so Chad enlisted the aid of his parishioners, and to cut a long story short this led to the formation of the Central London Samaritan Branch. Chad helped to form branches across the UK and in the island of Ireland and there are now 200 branches manned by 22,000 trained volunteers

Samaritans have always taken pride it their low ratio of employed staff to volunteers and in 2022 the central office employed just 300 staff to look after the huge amount of admin etc.

Chad Varah

On the 19th October 1964 Chad attended a meeting with various prominent people in the Orpington area, and it was decided that a branch of Samaritans should be formed, and after much work the branch took its first call on the 8th October 1965. There were just 19 trained volunteers.

At this time the branch was known as Samaritans of Orpington. But later it was decided the name did not properly reflect the area being supported so the branch eventually became known as Bromley and Orpington Samaritans. The branch now has over 100 trained volunteers working out of its premises at 9b Station Road, opposite Tesco’s.

The branch is a separate charity from Samaritan Head Office and is financially independent. This means we must raise all the money needed to keep the branch operating ourselves. We get no financial assistance from Local or Central Government, or from Samaritan Central Office.

Last year we received more than 21,000 calls from people needing our support, these calls are not just from people who have suicidal thoughts, but from anyone young or elderly who want a listening ear to help them through a difficult time. We also undertake several “Outreach” activities in the community where we offer support to Schools, Railways and Belmarsh Prison where we work with other local branches to train inmates to become “Samaritan Listeners”.

Operating the branch is not cheap, and although we have no paid staff it still costs us between £20,000 and £25,000 a year. That is why we are so pleased to hear of the support you have offered us, which will help us to continue supporting those in need in the local community.

Samaritans are available to give support 24 hours a day, 365(6) days a year by calling our freephone support line 116123.

Charity in Focus 2023

Here are the nominated charities for 2023:
Month Charity
Jan / Feb Church of Bangladesh
March MANUP - Men's Mental Health Charity
April / May Christian Aid
(May / June The Parish Fete)
July / August Christians Against Poverty
September Giving to St. Giles
October Poverty and Hope Appeal
November CRISIS
December The Samaritans

Charity in Focus 2022

Here are the nominated charities for 2022:
Month Charity
Jan - Feb The Church of Bangladesh
March Zimbabwe a National Emergency (ZANE)
April  - May Christian Aid
(May - June The Parish Fete)
July - August Away From It All (AFIA)
September The Friends of St. Giles
October Poverty and Hope
November CRISIS
December Bromley Homeless

Eddie Roberts  01689 851267

About Charity in Focus

In matters of faith and religion talk can be easy.  The bible teaches us that if we cannot love the brother or sister who we can see how can we love God who we cannot.

At St. Giles we seek to put love into action by supporting a range of charities and good causes.  

There is obviously a tremendous amount of need in our own country and across the world with many charities seeking our support. During the course of the year a number of designated charities are supported by our community.  Funds are raised in various ways including Coffee Mornings, Cake Sales, donations and sponsored events. 

There are specific charities which are supported each year on a regular basis,  the remaining months are available for parishioners to choose a charity whose aims and objectives are close to their heart.  

If you would like any information about the Charity in Focus scheme, do please get in touch with us.


Charity Film Night:

White Christmas

Thursday 21st December 7:30pm

White Christmas is a 1954 American musical film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. Filmed in Technicolor, it features the songs of Irving Berlin, including a new version of the title song, "White Christmas", introduced by Crosby in the 1942 film Holiday Inn.  

Produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures, the film is notable for being the first to be released in VistaVision, a widescreen process developed by Paramount that entailed using twice the surface area of standard 35mm film; this large-area negative was also used to yield finer-grained standard-sized 35mm prints.

The Red Shoes

Thursday 25th January 7:30pm

The Red Shoes is a 1948 British drama film written, directed, and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It follows Victoria Page (Moira Shearer), an aspiring ballerina who joins the world-renowned Ballet Lermontov, owned and operated by Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), who tests her dedication to the ballet by making her choose between her career and her romance with composer Julian Craster (Marius Goring).

It marked the feature film debut of Shearer, an established ballerina, and also features Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massine, and Ludmilla Tchérina, other renowned dancers from the ballet world. The plot is based on the 1845 eponymous fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, and features a ballet within it by the same title, also adapted from the Andersen work.