Hartlepool street pastors ready for Black Eye Friday

HELPING HANDS: Street pastors Maurice Calvert (left) and Drew Mills
HELPING HANDS: Street pastors Maurice Calvert (left) and Drew Mills

A TEAM of ‘street angels’ is preparing for one of its busiest nights of the year tomorrow as the Christmas party season gets into full swing.

Hartlepool Town Pastors patrol the streets of the drinking hotspots of Victoria Road and Church Street from 10.30pm until the early hours each Friday and Saturday throughout the year.

But tomorrow night - on what is widely regarded as “Black Eye Friday” - the teams dubbed as ‘Street Angels’ are expecting to be busy with revellers hitting the nightspots earlier than usual at the start of their Christmas holidays.

Drew Mills, who runs the Town Pastors in Hartlepool, said two teams of three volunteers will be out on the streets to give help to anyone who needs it.

Drew said: “Boxing Day is our busiest day of the year, but tomorrow night isn’t too far behind it.

“People are in a good mood on Boxing Day, they’re out spending their Christmas money and in good spirits.

“It’s a different atmosphere on Black Eye Friday. people finish work early when the shops and offices close, and they are often starting their holidays.

“They are in the pubs early, and they stay out. So by the time we go out about 10.30pm, there are a larger than usual number of people who have already had a bit too much to drink.

“We are there to help, and we work closely with the police and the doorstaff at the various pubs. Sometimes people can’t find a taxi if they’re a bit worse for wear, or they may need some water.

“Some people just want to chat if they find themselves a bit emotional. We cover a wide range of issues, and if there is a situation where it looks like it could turn violent then we either try to nip it in the bud or call for help from police or doorstaff.

“Hopefully people can just go out and enjoy themselves without getting into any trouble.”