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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.

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Edward Chad Varah

by Lucinda Douglas-Menzies
bromide print, 1988
NPG P404


Edward Chad Varah

by Sarah Raphael
oil on canvas laid on board, 1993
NPG 6225