Lifeline Celebrates 60 Years of Saving Lives - Hope 103.2

Lifeline Celebrates 60 Years of Saving Lives

Reverend Alan Walker's legacy is well and truly alive as Lifeline celebrates 60 years of crisis support this month.

By Steff WillisTuesday 4 Apr 2023NewsReading Time: 2 minutes

Lifeline exists to ensure no one faces their darkest moments alone.

Sixty years ago, when man walked on the moon and Beatlemania swept the nation, Reverend Sir Alan Walker realised a need for a service to help the lonely and those on society’s sidelines.

Rev Walker was Superintendent of Wesley Mission and, after losing someone to suicide, he gathered 30 people together to pray.

At this prayer meeting, the idea of a 24-hour counselling service was suggested.

Lifeline was born.

Recognising the power of the telephone in connecting with people, Rev Alan Walker started taking calls in his Sydney home with other volunteers.

Lifeline historical photo
Above: Lifeline Centre, Flinders Street, Darlinghurst 1963 / Supplied

“From a desperate call, the tragedy of suicide and a helplessness that was felt by many… the amazing work of Lifeline was born,” Walker told Wesley Impact! magazine in 1961.

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In a recent interview, Wesley Mission CEO and Superintendent Reverend Stu Cameron spoke about Rev Walker’s legacy and 60 incredible years of Lifeline.

“It’s an amazing milestone and an incredible legacy,” Rev Camerson said.

“Lifeline is an organisation and a movement that continues to transform and save lives.”

Rev Cameron said the man behind Lifeline knew that with compassion and connection, there was hope.

“I think if Alan Walker was alive today, he would see a movement that’s not only impacting Australians but that has mushroomed to be an organisation to have international reach and influence,” he said.

“I think he would thank God.

“He would give all honour and glory to God because, at the end of the day, Lifeline was birthed out of a Christian conviction that every life matters.”

“Every life matters to God and therefore it’s our privilege as the church to serve… particularly those who are in vulnerable situations or in their greatest hour of need.” Rev Stu Cameron, CEO Wesley Mission

With the tagline “Help is as close as the telephone,” Lifeline’s Darlinghurst call centre was opened on 16 March, 1963, by Sydney Lord Mayor H.F. Jensen, who spoke to the 2,500 strong crowd.

The project was the culmination of years of planning and six months of training for 200 volunteer workers.

Six decades on, Lifeline receives a call for support every 30 seconds.

Lifeline’s network of 41 centres, 10,000 volunteers, and 1,000 employees provide a lifesaving national infrastructure for those experiencing immense pain and anguish.

“Lifeline is at the front edges of connecting people with hope and enabling and empowering people to find that hope,” Rev Cameron said. 

Article supplied with thanks to 96five.

Feature image: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash