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Trains named after Samaritans charity’s founder

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The founder of helpline charity Samaritans has had three trains named in his memory.

Virgin Trains, London Midland, Direct Rail Services Limited (DRS) and Network Rail came together to honour Samaritans founder The Reverend Dr Chad Varah, CH, CBE, who died in 2007.

His daughter, Felicity Varah Harding, unveiled three trains, a Virgin Pendolino 390157 , a London Midland Class 350 Desiro , a DRS locomotive Class 57,  57302, at the event hosted by Virgin Trains yesterday (October 4).

Felicity said: “My father never drove a car, he believed in public transport, especially trains.  In his lifetime he would have travelled thousands of miles visiting Samaritans branches up and down the country.

“He would say it is the best form of transport and would have been delighted that both he, and Samaritans, is being recognised in this way.”

Varah founded Samaritans in 1953 to help those struggling to cope or contemplating suicide. He received his first call on November 2, 1953, the date now known as Samaritans official birthday.

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive at Samaritans, said: “To see these trains take to the rail network, named in honour of our founder, Chad Varah, is a testament to the impact his work has had on the millions of people that have used Samaritans since he set himself up with an emergency telephone almost 60 years ago.

“His idea of offering a non judgmental, confidential, listening service to people struggling to cope, continue to be the guiding principles of Samaritans’ service today.”


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