A HUMBLE and hard-working Powys-based volunteer has celebrated a milestone after completing half a century working with Samaritans.

Ruth Kettel marked her 50th anniversary at Samaritans in 2022 – she has been an instrumental figure at the Mid Wales branch, based in Llandrindod Wells, where she has served as a trainer and director in recent years.

Ruth, 68, started her volunteering journey with the charity in 1972, when she was around only 18, starting out at the Hereford branch, close to where she lives, in Leominster.

The spa town Samaritans branch was started as a hub of Hereford in 1993. Hereford provided most of the funding to get the Powys branch – one of more than 200 nationwide – started, and Ruth was one of the Hereford volunteers who moved her listening shifts to Llandrindod. They worked alongside Llandrindod volunteers who were trained by Hereford.

County Times:  Ruth Kettel has celebrated volunteering with Samaritans for 50 years Ruth Kettel has celebrated volunteering with Samaritans for 50 years

Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide throughout the UK.

Branch director David Davies said: “Ruth has made an enormous contribution to the Llandrindod Wells branch.

“She sets herself very high standards as a listening volunteer and as a trainer. With her wealth of experience she is often a great sounding board for ideas for development in the branch.

“I am sure that I am not the only director who has relied on her for informal advice.

“Another aspect of Ruth's work is her organisation of Samaritans collections at the Hay Festival each year. This has been going on for at least 25 years. Over the years tens of thousands of pounds has been collected.”


Ruth was asked to be branch director in Llandrindod in 1997, with the Brecon and Radnor Samaritans becoming its own independent branch in 1999; 2000 was its first full year as an independent branch. The name was changed to Powys Samaritans in Llandrindod Wells in 2015.

Ruth has organised the training off and on since 1994. In that time she has trained well over 100 new volunteers. She was chair of the trustees committee from 2004 to 2007.

At the branch’s recent AGM, she was presented with a beautiful original watercolour painting of the Samaritans Rose. She also received a small gift and a card form Samaritans’ head office.

Powys Samaritans run training courses twice a year every year in June and September. They are always looking for new listening volunteers to man the phones and take the calls from people in distress. If you are keen to get involved or find out more, contact Samaritans locally on 01597 822911 (please leave a message) or email llandrindodwells.director@samaritans.org.

The Samaritans vision is to reduce the number of people who die by suicide every year.

If you would like any help with bereavement, loss or mental wellbeing, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123