Sunday 5 December 2010, 07:30
Have you ever wondered who will be on the end of phone when you ring up to give to the Radio 4 St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal? Well if you hear the bells in the background you are through to the offices of St Martins in Trafalgar square where volunteers will answer the phones all day on Sunday - you might even get the vicar taking your call!
Gill - who is Assistant to the Controller of Radio 4 has answered the phones for many years she says:
What's special is getting a chance to talk to people all over the country, and it's lovely when in the background they can hear the bells of St Martins! We often talk about Radio 4 and the weather! Often callers have heard the broadcast and they say:'there but for the grace of God go I'. There's no complacency about our listeners, being homeless is not something that happens to other people, they understand how easily these things can happen.
Pam Rutherford is a BBC radio producer in the Science Unit:
I answered the phones a few years ago for the Radio 4 Christmas appeal and it was great fun and also quite moving at times. A few people who phoned up to make donations had similar stories of homelessness and had been helped out in the past by charities like the Radio 4 appeal. Their stories were inspiring. The vicar comes round and chats to you in the small gaps between taking phone calls! Basically it's great to help out with a charity that obviously does so much great work. I work about 500 metres down the road so I regularly walk past St Martin's and of course you often see homeless people around London so it's great to know there are places like The Connection and funds like the VRF which working to help them.
Last Sunday (28th Nov) Pam ran a marathon, raising money for the Christmas Appeal. Post marathon she said:
Err... it was very painful! I've done them before but this was the hardest ever - very cold and rainy. The charity was definitely a factor in keeping me going so thanks!
But don't be surprised if you get a Belfast accent. This year due to the volume of calls we took in 2009 we have recruited volunteers at the Capita call centre in Belfast where they answer our Radio 4 Appeal calls each week. They had plenty of desks and phones available on Sunday and offered to help out which is great.
Conor at Capita in Belfast:
We're looking forward to taking your calls on Sunday!
Sally Flatman is producer of The Radio 4 Appeal
Saturday 4 December 2010, 10:00
Wednesday 8 December 2010, 16:53