Hastings street pastors celebrate year of success

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A GROUP of people who help drunken revellers and defuse potential disputes have had new members join up.

Hastings Street Pastors now have three times as many volunteers since the service, which offers a listening ear, was started in February.

The new volunteers were inducted at a celebration evening last Friday (December 17) at Wellington Square Baptist Church in the presence of deputy mayor Alan Roberts, visiting speaker, Chris Sears MBE and Councillor Lee Clark.

Each new pastor was presented with their official blue Street Pastor cap, and a highlight was the generosity of the Gideon’s organisation, which handed out pocket-sized Bibles.

The evening was rounded off with a rousing chorus of “Hark the Herald Angels sing”.

Martin West, coordinator, said: “This year has been a remarkable series of success stories. Invitations came in to attend the two-day Alexandra Park Beer and Musical Festival, Hastings Bonfire Procession, Old Town Carnival and the big-screen World Cup campaign.

“There was even an invitation to assist setting up Dover Street Pastors when Dover Police asked their local churches to set up a similar scheme in response to positive and dramatic reductions in crime levels nationally where street pastors operate.”

Every Friday and Saturday night from 10pm to 3am 48 street pastors drawn from 25 churches patrol the town centre and Old Town, acting as peacekeeping teams. The street pastors will also be out on New Year’s Eve when the town centre is expected to be crammed with revellers seeing 2011 in.

The pastors are seeking to build on their success and need more funding and prayer pastors to step forward. Information is available by emailing hastings@streetpastors.org.uk or logging onto the website www.streetpastors.org.uk. Mr West can be contacted on 07864167870.