Town Pastors recognised

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TOWN pastors who walk the streets and provide help and assistance to revellers have been recognised by police chiefs for their efforts.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger and Cleveland Police Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer met pastors from Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough and Guisborough to present them with certificates for their community work.

In Hartlepool, the group of volunteers help keep the town safe at night by offering help and assistance to those 
enjoying a night out and a drink.

They also provide first aid, someone to talk to or a place for drunken people to sober up.

Drew Mills, project manager, said: “The police wanted to recognise the amount of work we do in the community.

“It was lovely to get that level of appreciation and certificates were presented to members.

“The police were very complimentary about the difference that it makes and we are grateful for their support.”

There are around 18 pastors in Hartlepool and 100 in total across the Cleveland Police force area, including Hartlepool, Stockton, 
Middlesbrough and Guisborough.

Mr Mills said they often start their shift at around 10.30pm and can then be out pounding the streets from anywhere between 12.30am and 3.30am the next morning.

Hartlepool Town Pastors, based in Whitby Street, won a Hartlepool Mail Pride of Hartlepool award in the Community Group section last year for their dedication and selflessness in braving the streets in all weathers.

The kind-hearted group offer a helping hand to those worse for wear, even providing flip-flops for girls struggling in high heels and have been known to give their coats to those shivering in taxi queues.

Across the country there are 120 pastor groups, since they first became established in 2005.

Mr Mills said pastors had never had any records of violence against them and he said they build up good relationships with revellers.

They are always looking for more volunteers to join their ranks, especially women.

l For more information about the pastors’ work or to volunteer call Drew Mills on 07776 378934.