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Samaritans set to mark 70 years and 134 million answered calls at Chelsea Flower Show

by | 18 May 23 | Featured Slider, Garden Design, News, Topics

Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off star Laura Adlington will be unveiling an exclusive celebration cake with fellow Samaritans Ambassadors, Hollywood actor Jason Flemyng and author Elizabeth Day at the Samaritans’ Listening Garden.

The charity’s Listening Garden is inspired by the brave people who found the courage to reach out to Samaritans and seek help. The garden, designed by Darren Hawkes visually represents the intricacy of mental health but also the serenity one can find when they reach out to talk.

The garden’s planting and built elements are designed to become calmer and more open as it progresses, with sculptural seats positioned throughout the garden as a reminder to take the time to talk when needed.

Samaritans garden designer, Darren Hawkes

Darren Hawkes, the gardens’ designer, and recently qualified Samaritans volunteer says: “It’s been a privilege to design a thought-provoking show garden that represents the complexity of mental health. Sadly, I’ve lost friends to suicide and becoming a volunteer and designing this garden for Samaritans seemed like the perfect way to honour them.”

The Samaritans respond to a call for help every ten second, in 2022 there was not a single second that they were not on the phone to someone in need, with almost one million hours logged responding to calls.

Julie Bentley, CEO of Samaritans, says: “We are so grateful to Darren and Project Giving Back for gifting us with this unique opportunity to raise awareness of the life saving work Samaritans does, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Last year, Samaritans volunteers spent almost 1 million hours responding to calls for help. Darren’s role as one of our 23,000 amazing volunteers has led him to create a beautiful representation of something he knows first hand – that listening can save lives. As we mark 70 years, we hope that visitors will be inspired to support us in whatever way they can, to ensure Samaritans continues to be there in the future.”

GBBO star Laura Adlington

To commemorate 70 years and 134 million answered calls, Laura Adlington of the Great British Bake Off will be serving up a bespoke cake with author Elizabeth Day and actor Jason Flemyng at the Samaritans’ Listening Garden.

Elizabeth Day, author and ambassador for Samaritans, adds: “I can’t wait to visit Samaritans’ Listening Garden next week, which honours the journey that callers have when they reach out for help. Starting as a phone line 70 years ago, the charity has evolved so much to achieve the countless ways it reaches and supports people from all communities today. I hope Chelsea visitors enjoy both the beauty and the meaning behind the garden, and Samaritans finds new supporters to join them on their mission to reduce lives lost to suicide.”

Laura a podcaster and mental health influencer, is also a former Samaritans volunteer who will be sharing the recipe to encourage home bakers to recreate the design and celebrate Samaritans’ impact too.

A remodelled version of the show garden will be permanently relocated at a Samaritans branch where it will continue to inspire and provide a safe haven for those who need it.

The Samaritans’ Listening Garden is not the only show garden inspired by the complexities of mental health to feature at the Royal Horticultural Society festivities this year: J. Parker’s partners with Rachel Platt to produce mental health inspired garden at RHS Tatton.

Additional information:

The Chelsea Flower Show will be in full swing from May 23rd to May 27th, for more information on the show visit the website:

Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can visit

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