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Edward Chad Varah (1911-2007), Founder of the Samaritans
Sitter in 2 portraits
Born at Barton-on-Humber, where his father was vicar, Varah was educated at Worksop College and Keble, Oxford. Working as an Anglican priest in south London in the 1950s he recognised the problems caused by social isolation. An article about sexual issues for Picture Post brought a huge response from people wishing to air personal difficulties. In 1953 he began pastoral counselling at St Stephen Walbrook in the City of London. He founded the non-religious telephone counselling organisation the Samaritans, which now has 187 branches and 22,000 volunteers. Varah became President of Befrienders International (Samaritans Worldwide) (1983-6), and travelled widely to introduce the principles of the Samaritans.