CHELTENHAM’S Leigh Norwood was nominated to attend the Community Champions reception by MP and Samaritans supporter Alex Chalk.
Mr Norwood – the Chairman of the Friends of Cheltenham Samaritans – is the ‘fundraiser in chief’ and has helped to raise £350,000 for Cheltenham Samaritans since 1979.
Last year – under Leigh Norwood’s leadership – the Friends of Cheltenham Samaritans raised £18,000 to support the vital work Cheltenham Samaritans do to support some of Cheltenham’s most vulnerable people.
Cheltenham Samaritans are available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support to anyone who may be experiencing feelings of distress or despair; including those that may lead to suicide.
Cheltenham Samaritans opened in 1963 and has 140 volunteers who respond to around 2,000 calls, 400 emails and 100 online chats each month.
Leigh Norwood said: “It was an honour and a privilege to be invited to the reception at Number 10 in recognition of the work of our fundraising group. It was a real pleasure to meet the Prime Minister, and to be given the chance to enter the hallowed space of one of the most iconic buildings in Western democracy. I was somewhat humbled to be in the presence of the many others who have done so much for their communities, but I thoroughly enjoyed engaging in some fascinating conversations.
“Of course, recognition is also due to the many other incredible members of the Friends of Cheltenham Samaritans. Since our group was formed in 1979, we have had nearly eighty committee members, raised over £350,000 and provided vital publicity to the Samaritans by organising over more than 300 very diverse events. “These efforts have helped to ensure that the vital service of the local Samaritans continues to be provided to the people of Cheltenham and the surrounding area.”
Alex Chalk said: “I was delighted to invite Cheltenham’s own Leigh Norwood to 10 Downing Street to receive the personal thanks and recognition of the Prime Minister for his work for the Samaritans.
“For nearly 45 years (he started in his teens!) Leigh and the local Cheltenham group have supported this excellent cause, raising over £350,000. And that’s often been with events that involve his second passion – beer!
“Leigh was at pains to stress that others here in Cheltenham have played an equal part in building this astonishing record. Thank you to every last one of you. You have made an immeasurable contribution to our community in Cheltenham.”