CHRIS Stewart has been named as the winner of the Pride of Gwent Volunteer Award.

Electrician and fire safety practitioner Mr Stewart, from Newport, has volunteered for the Samaritans since 2019.

He will receive the Pride of Gwent Volunteer Award at the Rodney Parade winners’ ceremony this evening, Thursday, sponsored by ND Care & Support.

Sharon Beckett, branch director for Newport and Gwent, says Mr Stewart has saved the charity tens of thousands of pounds and “undoubtedly” saved lives.

South Wales Argus:

“He is currently our volunteer deputy director for buildings and has put months and months into a project that other builders wanted nearly £200,000 for.

“He has doubled our capacity at half the cost. This work will undoubtedly save lives as we talk to suicidal people and can do it without worrying about rats and pigeons infiltrating our operations room!” Ms Beckett said.

“We used to be in a really run down site at the top of Stow Hill and Chris would regularly get called by volunteers who were quivering on top of desks, probably not realising the average rat can jump a good way.

“Chris saw the huge amount of work necessary at our new site on Waters Lane as being worth his burial rights for rodents.

South Wales Argus: Pride of Gwent Awards 2023

“He works ridiculously hard. As well as helping us with hours of volunteering on the building, as one of our custody suite volunteers he goes into Newport police station at weekends to provide emotional support for people who have found themselves in custody and are awaiting court.

“It’s such an emotional role, but incredibly important and one that saves lives.”

Not satisfied with the breadth of his volunteering thus far, Mr Stewart will take on the Everest base camp trek, in aid of the Samaritans, next May.

Newport and Gwent Samaritans consists of around 80 volunteers who have helped almost 10,000 people over the last year.

In addition to the custody service, offering face-to-face support to people after arrest, they have also helped people at football and rugby clubs, building sites, community groups and two local prisons.

To speak to the Samaritans, call 116 123 at any time for free, or email