RUTH Ramm, who has died aged 83, devoted much of her life to helping suicidal people and those they left behind.

She was director of the Oxford Samaritans, a group set up by her husband, Canon Norwyn Macdonald Ramm, the former City Rector, in 1963 to help those in trouble.

Later, she helped to establish Sobs, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide, to help friends and family of the dead.

She said many unanswered questions were left behind by those who commit suicide.

“There is intense guilt that relatives could have stopped it, anger that they have been abandoned, reflection that somehow it was their fault.”

She said loved ones also had to endure identifying the body, attending the funeral and inquest and learning to get on with life.

Ruth Ellen Kirton was born in London on January 31, 1935, one of four children, and was evacuated with her family to her grandfather’s home in Somerset at the start of the Second World War.

Returning to London when war ended, she went with her other siblings to a private school in East Sussex.

After leaving school, she spent a year in France learning French, then returned to Britain to train as an occupational therapist, moving to Oxford to work at the Churchill Hospital.

A chance meeting at Wolvercote, followed by a tennis match, in which the young Ruth beat her future husband, led to romance and the couple were married in London in 1962. Her veil included one of her husband’s clerical collars.

Canon Ramm – known to everyone as ‘Mac’ - had become vicar of St Michael at the Northgate Church in Cornmarket Street in 1960, later also being appointed City Rector. He held the posts until he retired in 1987.

He and Mrs Ramm lived in St Michael’s Street, a stone’s throw from the church, where they brought up their three children.

After Canon Ramm retired, they moved to Harwell. He died in 2002 and Mrs Ramm continued to live in the village until 2010 when she moved back to Oxford, to Hamilton Road, Summertown.

Family members gathered at Oxford Crematorium for a private funeral for Mrs Ramm, who died on November 18.

A thanksgiving service was held at St Matthew’s Church, Harwell, on January 15. It included tributes from family members who remembered how “she lived life to the full, she loved dearly and she laughed heartily”.

Mrs Ramm leaves daughter Selina, sons Peter and David, and six grandchildren, Lorna, Tessa, Jocelyn, Emma, Thomas and Alex.