COLCHESTER'S branch of a lifesaving charity is gearing up to celebrate a huge milestone and six decades supporting people in the city. 

Colchester's branch of Samaritans, in Walsingham Road, is ready to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Samaritans is a charity full of volunteers picking up calls and listening to people who are struggling. 

The charity aims to lower the figure of people who die by suicide.

Branch director, Lynne Finnigan, said: "We’re thrilled, it’s a true moment of reflection for the whole of the branch.

"Everything we’ve achieved up to this milestone puts us in a really strong position to help directly in the Colchester and Tendring community."

Volunteers at the charity will meet up to celebrate in May, as close to its founding day as possible.

Lynne said: "We will all be getting together for a celebratory lunch in May as close to the anniversary of our founding as possible.

"By happy coincidence, the Samaritans is the 2024 TCS London Marathon Charity of the Year.

"To celebrate this the mayor of Colchester has agreed to light up the town hall and Colchester Castle in green, the Samaritan's brand colour, over the Marathon weekend."

Colchester Samaritans test statistics show that during March, volunteers spent 527 hours on the phone answering 1,693 calls.

The branch currently has 102 listening volunteers and 35 support volunteers working in and out of the city.

Lynne continued: "We were founded to offer telephone support to those who were seriously contemplating suicide or were under great mental stress. 

"Nowadays our aim is to offer listening and emotional support to people and communities in times of need with the vision that fewer people die by suicide."

The Colchester branch of Samaritans first opened its doors at Vineyard Street in May 1964, supporting the community in Colchester and the surrounding CO postcode areas.

In 2011 the organisation moved to its current premises in Walsingham Road.

To donate to the charity go to

If you are struggling to cope then call Samaritans at 116 123 for free.