A LONG-SERVING local Samaritan received her MBE from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace last week.
Doreen Yate, who lives in Barrowford, has been a Samaritan volunteer for more than 30 years. She has had a variety of roles in Pendle, Burnley and Rossendale Samaritans based in Market Square, Nelson.
As well as answering phone calls, dealing with emails and talking face to face with those with problems, Doreen has been fund raiser, trainer and director of the branch, which deals with something in the region of 25,000 calls each year.
In addition, she still finds time to answer letters addressed to Samaritan Correspondence branch from those who choose to write rather than use the more common ways of contacting Samaritans.
In her role as Prisons Co-ordinator for Correspondence branch, Doreen was instrumental in setting up with the Home Office a confidential, freepost envelope scheme for men and women in prison. Initiated in 2008, the scheme has been responsible for a sixfold increase in the number of letters received.
“Because of Samaritan confidentiality, there is no way of knowing the precise effect of prisoners being able to write in confidence. However, if only a handful of men and women have received some comfort and perhaps one or two are still alive who might otherwise have taken their own life, the effort put into the scheme by Samaritans, has been well worth while”
Doreen went on to say what a great honour it was to receive the medal from the Prince of Wales. “It was particularly pleasing as Prince Charles is patron of the Samaritans,” said Doreen. “Understandably he only has a short time with each medal recipient but even so he showed a clear understanding of what is involved in being a Samaritan volunteer.”