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38 years of life-saving service

Ken White was finance director of a group of companies when he started volunteering for Wesley Mission’s Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland back in July 1983. “I’d had a marriage breakdown and following assistance by counsellors, I wanted to put back something into the community,” he remembers. Behind Ken’s dedication to Lifeline’s goal of preventing and reducing suicide is a deep compassion for the countless callers he has helped over the years. “There are a lot of people out there who have needs and in some way I’m able to help them, maybe by no more than just relieving the pressure of the moment through talking,” he says. “Often, I find the people at the beginning of the call might be quite distressed, but after we start talking for a while their mood changes. If I’m not there, then there is just one less person to talk to.”

Thinking back over the conversations that have stuck in his mind, Ken quietly describes the four people whose lives he knows he helped save. One was on his second night volunteering. Another was a woman who had taken tablets and he talked to her until an ambulance arrived. “The ambos came in and they talked to me. They said ‘yes, she was on the way out, she wouldn’t have lasted but we’ll be able to save her.’ “I know that I’ve saved the lives of four people by them talking to me,” says Ken. As one of our longest serving Lifeline Accredited Crisis Supporters, Ken shares the wisdom of his experience as a supervisor and mentor.

In 2020 he was named Volunteer of the Year and winner of the Senior Volunteer Award. Congratulations and thank you Ken!

Your generosity helps us continue supporting the people in a crisis who phone Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland. We appreciate your compassion and kindness.

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