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Our people

The Silver Line Helpline team is made up of dedicated staff members and volunteers based across the UK.

The Silver Line Helpline team members work hard to give older people the chance to pick up the phone and enjoy a chat, get some support, and feel all the wonderful benefits that come from talking to a friend.

Without their commitment and passion, we would not be able to offer the support and friendship that millions of older people.

The Silver Line Trustees

Working alongside The Silver Line’s staff and volunteers are our trustees, senior leaders, ambassadors and charity patron.

They help to guide the organisation and champion The Silver Line’s mission and message in the public eye.

Dame Esther Rantzen DBE

A photo portrait of Dame Esther Rantzen

Dame Esther Rantzen DBE is the founder and president of The Silver Line. She founded the charity in 2013 to support and uplift older people experiencing loneliness and isolation across the UK.

Esther was inspired to establish The Silver Line after opening up about her own struggles with loneliness, and realising she was not alone.

“I first admitted I was lonely in 2011 when I found myself living alone for the first time aged 71, and hating it.

I knew I was lucky in many ways. I was busy, I was healthy, but all the same at the end of the day I would return to my empty flat. It was dark, it was cold, and there was nobody to have a cup of tea with, or plan an evening of television together.

In August 2011, I wrote an article about my experience and received an incredible response. Many older people wrote to me and shared their own stories of living with loneliness, especially after the loss of a beloved spouse. Some wrote about going days without speaking to anyone or feeling like a burden on their family.

I knew there had to be a way to help end this stigma of loneliness. During a panel organised by Campaign to End Loneliness, I had a lightbulb moment: we needed a helpline just for older people.

After a year of research, fundraising and planning, The Silver Line launched and we received our first call in November 2013. It’s been an incredible journey since, including a recent merge with Age UK, our charity partner.

We can’t claim to change people’s lives completely, but we do know (because our callers tell us) that making that phone call can be a crucial first step. It can lift people’s spirits, make them feel valued, and reassure them that life really is worth living.”

Alongside founding The Silver Line, Dame Esther Rantzen is a celebrated presenter, campaigner, journalist, and speaker.  

She has received an OBE for services to broadcasting, a CBE for services to children, and a DBE for her work with Childline and The Silver Line Helpline.

For her work in broadcasting, Esther has been awarded seven honorary doctorates and is a Patron of 19 charities.

Read a letter from Dame Esther.

Martin Jones

Martin JonesAlongside being the chairman and trustee of The Silver Line, Martin is the Managing Director of Home Instead Senior Care.

After his father became seriously ill, Martin experienced first-hand the inconsistent levels of care in the UK. He joined the business to make a difference to the lives of other older people and their families.

Martin is an active member of Business in the Community’s Age at Work leadership team and is a trustee for The Care Workers Charity and the Bring Joy Foundation.

Gary Rycroft

Gary Rycroft

Gary is a Lancaster-based solicitor with a passion for causes that support and uplift older people.

For 25 years, Gary has specialised in advising older clients and has helped develop the law with regard to wills, trusts, probate and mental capacity through committee work at The Law Society.

 Gary writes the twice-monthly ‘Ask a Lawyer’ column for The Daily Telegraph. He has been a trustee of The Silver Line Helpline since February 2019 and is particularly proud that the charity’s main call centre is in Blackpool.

Denise Smith

Denise SmithFollowing a global career in organisation development and human resource management, Denise now operates as an independent management consultant. She works with multi-national clients to evolve their operating models, organisation designs and strategic capabilities.

Denise has a deep interest in global trends related to ageing populations and their various societal impacts. She joined the Board of Trustees of The Silver Line Helpline in February 2019, bringing to bear a wealth of business experience and a passion for sustainable solutions to loneliness, especially amongst older people.

James Batchelor

James Batchelor

James is an entrepreneur, speaker and expert on technology for the ageing population. He founded his company Alertacall in 2004, inspired by the changing needs of his highly independent grandmother.

Alongside supporting The Silver Line, James is also a benefactor of The Teenage Cancer Trust, The Michelle Jurd Memorial Trust, The Lancashire Army Cadet Force and The Polar Academy.

The Silver Line ambassadors and patron

The Silver Line relies on its generous donors and supporters in order to continue providing friendship, guidance and connection to older people who need it.

We also rely on the invaluable contributions of our ambassadors and patron, who help to champion the people The Silver Line supports and the work we carry out.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

The Silver Line Patron who helped support callers during the 2020 lockdown.

Dame Judi Dench

The Silver Line Ambassador

Baroness Sally Greengross OBE

The Silver Line Ambassador

Dame Joan Collins DBE

The Silver Line Ambassador

Gloria Hunniford OBE

The Silver Line Ambassador

More from The Silver Line

 

Last updated: May 25 2022

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