EALING Charity Christmas Card Shop is marking the 70th anniversary of the Samaritans, whose local branch was the first charity to join the card shop in 1985.

At the shop opening on Thursday (2) were Ealing Mayor Hitesh Taylor and Ealing Hammersmith and Hounslow Samaritans branch director Heena Johnson.

They were joined by representatives of some of the shop’s other charities.

The Mayor’s visit came on the 70th anniversary of the day in 1953 that Samaritans took its first telephone calls from those in emotional distress.

Branch director Heena Johnson said: “Without the support of fund-raising initiatives like Ealing Charity Christmas Card Shop, our branch would be unable to deliver on the vision of Samaritans founder the Rev Chad Varah all those years ago.”

Ealing Charity Christmas Card Shop has opened for its 38th festive season at the Church of Christ the Saviour, New Broadway, Ealing W5 2XA.

The all-volunteer shop sells cards from 28 charities and is one of the few charity Christmas card shops where 100% of the money raised goes to the charities.

One of the first customers was regular supporter Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton.

With total sales since 1985 exceeding £900,000, the Ealing shop has supported more than 100 charities and sold five million cards to more than 21,000 customers.

This year, there are more than 200 different designs of cards on sale in support of the local branches of the following 28 charities:

Age UK Ealing, Alzheimer’s Society, Book Aid International, Bridge of Hope, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Cardiac Risk in the Young, Christian Aid, Combat Stress, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Diabetes UK, Ealing Samaritans, Ealing Amnesty International, Epilepsy Research UK, Facing the World, Freedom From Torture, Friends of Hammersmith Hospital, Motor Neurone Disease Association, Mind, Multiple Sclerosis Trust, Parkinson's UK, RNLI, Save the Children, Soil Association, Stella Maris - Apostleship of the Sea, St Mark’s Hospital Foundation Trust, Society of St Vincent de St Paul, Transform Trade and Unique.

The shop is open between 10am and 4pm Mondays to Saturdays until Tuesday, December 19.