Street pastors help more than 2,000 revellers
FROM saving lives to sweeping up smashed bottles, Cheltenham's Street Pastors have seen it all in their first year of operation.
And they are now proud to announce they have helped more than 2,400 people in the past 12 months.
But the volunteers have their work cut out for them and are appealing for other people in town to share the burden.
Nigel Bennett, chairman of the Cheltenham Street Pastors, said: "We can just about cope but we would like to do more.
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"A lot of people we attend need taking to hospital so were often have to wait with them until an ambulance arrives which is very time-consuming."
In any one night street pastors can go from giving out simple advice to revellers to calling ambulances for people.
Graham Ledger, one of the founding members, said that during last year's icy weather two men were saved from freezing to death when they were discovered unconscious in an alleyway in temperatures of -6C.
He said as well as helping the drunken and disorientated find taxis and buses home, they hand out bottles of water and flip-flops to women struggling in high heels. They are also armed with dustpans and brushes to sweep up broken glass.
"We were doing that outside Varsity one night," Graham said.
"We were getting a lot of mickey-taking from this group of lads nearby.
"Then three females ran round the corner barefoot straight through the area we had just cleared.
"The lads were gobsmacked and ended up talking to us for 20 minutes afterwards."
Mr Bennett added: "We have got 50 pastors at the moment and I would like to double that.
"A number of people that have become street pastors used to think the town was like the Wild West – there's an apprehension that you are going to get mugged or worse on the streets, but it's not like that."
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