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Romford students volunteer to help raise awareness of Samaritans campaign after woman dies at Shenfield station

PUBLISHED: 11:30 27 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:47 27 November 2017

Samaritans representatives and pupils from Frances Bardsley Academy spent time at Romford station as part of the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign. Picture: Arthur Leathley

Samaritans representatives and pupils from Frances Bardsley Academy spent time at Romford station as part of the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign. Picture: Arthur Leathley

Arthur Leathley

Pupils opted in to volunteer their time spreading awareness of a pre-Christmas campaign alongside Romford Samaritans, after a schoolgirl died at a nearby station.

Representatives of the charity, based in North Street, Romford, were at Romford station last Friday, as part of the national Small talk saves lives campaign to encourage people to have a casual conversation with someone who might be feeling lonely.

But they were not alone as 12 girls from Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls, Brentwood Road, Romford, wanted to help and volunteered to hand out cards to railway passengers.

The train station initiative came just three days after sixth form Chelmsford student Zeynep Pattie, 18, died at Shenfield station after being hit by a train.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.

Margaret Nice, a volunteer at Romford Samaritans leading the campaign, said: “It just needs a moment to talk to someone and it really does make a difference.

“A person who thinks no one cares suddenly realises that there are people prepared to help.

“It can be as simple as talking about the weather or something on telly, and that can be very powerful.”

The pupils from Frances Bardsley Academy are known as life ambassadors, taking part in a year-long programme that means they get involved in community projects helping other people.

They are also running a campaign called One ear out, which encourages people to remove an earphone to listen to others.

Zainab Mudashiru, 17, said: “It is a real chance to help motivate other people and it helps people feel a bit better about themselves and more optimistic, so it is a really valuable thing to do.”

Naomi Ojutalayo, 16, also said: “We want to spread awareness and show that it really does help to talk. Doing this has helped give me more knowledge about helping others.”

For anyone wanting help or support, call freephone number 116123 to reach Samaritans, email jo@samaritans.org or text 07725 909090

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