Skip to content
Please donate

Esther Rantzen

The founder of ChildLine and Silver Line talks loneliness, loyalty and living life to the full.

I’ve been working with ChildLine since 1986 so I know about the power of the telephone and how it can transform lives.

My husband died in 2000 and ten years later I moved into a two bedroom flat and it was the first time I had lived on my own. And I didn’t like it. No matter how busy my day was, I was coming back to a dark flat, with no one to talk to, and I was a bit shocked. I wrote about it in a national newspaper and I got inundated with responses.

I realised there was a stigma: people feel ashamed of telling anyone they’re lonely. And I suddenly had that light bulb moment: could the answer be another helpline? And that’s how Silver Line came about.

Esther RantzenAge UK performs an invaluable service – it’s a terrific charity, it’s brilliant.

I have always loved communication and talking to audiences; I loved listening to people’s stories. I suppose I’ve always been solution focussed. You have to leave people better off than you find them.

My ambition is to be at my grandson’s 21st birthday. He’s three. I want to help him cut the cake and raise a glass to his health.

I’m not going to retire, I’m going to prioritise. The time I spend with my children and grandchildren is much more precious for me.

Support lines

  • For advice, support and friendship, please call Age UK on 0800 678 1174
  • For 24-hour information and support, call Silver Line: 0800 470 8090

Share this page

Last updated: Apr 16 2018

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top