A Samaritans volunteer from the Isle of Wight will be donning his posh suit for His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’ 70th Birthday bash next Tuesday (22nd May).

Barry Rist will bring 22 years of volunteering experience to the palace party, which celebrates the work of the charities and organisations that Prince Charles is Patron to. Barry is attending the prestigious party after being nominated for his commitment and dedication to volunteering by the Isle of Wight branch.

Barry joined the Samaritans in 1996 and has been a stalwart volunteer ever since, filling a number of additional roles as well as responding to calls. He was Director of the Branch for 3 years, Deputy Director for Volunteer Care for a further 3 and is currently Deputy Director of Prisons, leading teams in all of the Island’s prisons, now united as HMP Isle of Wight.

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He has been a Leader since 1998, supporting his fellow listening volunteers, and also been Training Team Lead and Rota Secretary. Barry also acts as a Mentor for new Samaritans and conscientiously does late night branch listening duties in addition to his Prison role.

Asked how he feels about being invited to the Palace, Barry replied:

“A bit apprehensive, as I’m not used to being in the spotlight.” But Branch Director John Trotman said “We’re delighted that Barry has been chosen for this honour. He’s worked tirelessly to support our callers, the prison team and the branch, for over 20 years and thoroughly deserves this special recognition.”

Over the years as Patron, Prince Charles has met many Samaritans volunteers and supporters and enjoyed a cup of tea from a Samaritans mug as part of the charity’s 60th birthday celebrations in 2013.

Samaritans volunteers will be presenting Prince Charles with a personalised photo gift which aims to represent the number of calls for help Samaritans has answered since he became Patron. Over his 19 years as Patron, Samaritans has responded to approximately 96.8 million calls for help.

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