Friends raise £2,000 in memory of Samaritans volunteer

York Press: John Vinuesa, 51, a York Samaritan volunteer John Vinuesa, 51, a York Samaritan volunteer

MORE than £2,000 has been raised in memory of a compassionate and kind Samaritans volunteer.

John Vinuesa, 51, worked as a phone listener in York helping to provide confidential emotional support for people experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.

The dad-of-two from Bishopthorpe, who also worked as an NHS supplies manager, died in October following a short battle with cancer.

In his memory, friends and co-workers took part in the Dragon Boat races as "The Vinuesa Armada" at the weekend. Their efforts have so far raised £2,290 with more expected to be donated.

John’s family, including his wife Anna, sister Nuria and daughters Dani, 19, and Izzy, 15, helped out on the day, supplying food and cheering on the branch’s 20-strong team of supporters and volunteers.

A spokesperson for the Nunnery Lane-based York Samaritans, said: "John was really well liked by everyone and was a hard working member of the team. He was compassionate, friendly, helpful and had time for everyone."

An outdoors enthusiast and keen fundraiser, John had previously captained the York Samaritans team at the Dragon Boat Challenge, which has been held annually since 2003.

Two-thirds of the funds raised by the team will go to York Samaritans. The remaining funds will go to York Rotary Club’s nominated charity for 2014, The Jack Raine Foundation, which supports vulnerable children and young adults in the city.

Lynette Banks, York Samaritans director, said: “This was a great way to celebrate John’s time with us – a gathering of family and friends coming together to have fun and at the same time raising awareness and money for a cause which was very close to his heart York Samaritans receives no official funding, and we are totally reliant upon our own fundraising events.”

To donate money, visit http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/TVA and to find out more about Samaritans go to http://www.samaritans.org/

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