YEP Says (Jan 12): A landmark year for the listeners who save lives

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How to quantify success when it comes to an organisation such as the Samaritans?

The number of lives saved? The number of people helped from the depths of despair in the darkest hours, when loneliness and suffering can be at its worst?

And for all of those who have made the call, how many more have taken comfort in knowing that the Samaritams are there. Just in case. The Samaritans of Leeds will mark 50 years of listening this year. Since November 7, 1966, the Leeds branch of the charity has offered round-the-clock confidential support to people in emotional distress and struggling to cope. It has trained almost 3,000 volunteers who have dedicated themselves to a 24 hour/365 days a year service. Since records began more than 1.4m contacts have been made with the branch, by telephone, email, SmS and face-to -face.

Never forget that this amazing organisation relies entirely on donations.

The nature of daily life may have changed a lot in the past 50 years - but the need for someone to care, and sometimes just to listen, has never been meant more.

It would be remiss of us not to include their helpline number here: 116 123.

Farewell David Bowie, a true superstar

THERE are few cultural figures who can genuinely claim to have changed people’s lives, but David Bowie is arguably one of them.

Not only was he the most charismatic performer of his generation, he was also one of the most influential.

In a career spanning more than four decades, the musician and songwriter pushed back the boundaries of what a rock star could be. Bowie set trends rather than followed them.

He was a cultural hero of his age, refusing to conform to convention, preferring instead to follow his own star.

He leaves behind a legacy of great songs and as long as there are people walking the earth, his name, and the brilliant music he produced, will live on.

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