HOLD THE LINE: Lifeline held a celebration in recognition of volunteers years of service on the phones. There is more than 150 years of volunteering service in this photograph. The people that were recognised officially were Lyne Taylor (14 years of service), Elizabeth Gough (32), Ross Blanche (20), Ian Thomas (front, 15 years), Karen Prestidge (15), Lynda Cawley (30) and Helen Mees (19).
HOLD THE LINE: Lifeline held a celebration in recognition of volunteers years of service on the phones. There is more than 150 years of volunteering service in this photograph. The people that were recognised officially were Lyne Taylor (14 years of service), Elizabeth Gough (32), Ross Blanche (20), Ian Thomas (front, 15 years), Karen Prestidge (15), Lynda Cawley (30) and Helen Mees (19). Rob Williams

Meet the woman saving lives one phone call at a time

CHRISTMAS is traditionally a time for winding down at work and perhaps kicking back for a relaxing summer break.

It's also a time when experienced Lifeline crisis supporter Elizabeth Gough does some of her most important work.

Mrs Gough was among seven Ipswich Lifeline volunteers to receive recognition for long service in the lead-up to what will be a busy time.

Elizabeth Gough has been volunteering for Lifeline for 32 years.
Elizabeth Gough has been volunteering for Lifeline for 32 years. Rob Williams

With 32 years of taking calls on the crisis line, Mrs Gough knows how difficult the Christmas period can be for people going through a wide range of problems.

"It can be anything from relationships to financial worries - people who are desperate and suicidal," she said.

"There is such a range of things that worry people and they find it particularly difficult at this time of year.

"They might have money problems and they want to enjoy Christmas but can't afford to travel to be with the rest of the family.

"Some people are just lonely."

Elizabeth Gough (32) and Lynda Cawley (30) have been volunteering for Lifeline for a combined 62 years.
Elizabeth Gough (32) and Lynda Cawley (30) have been volunteering for Lifeline for a combined 62 years. Rob Williams

There are about 50 volunteers just like Mrs Gough in the Ipswich crisis support centre. They will be working rotating shifts right through Christmas and into the new year.

Ipswich telephone service centre supervisor Natalie Bagdonas said volunteers also had the incentive to do paid work when they put their hand up for late-night shifts.

Lifeline is always looking for more telephone service volunteers and Ms Bagdonas has invited anyone who is interested to visit uccommunity.org au/ipswich for information on the training provided to crisis support workers.



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