Newmarket Town Pastors celebrate ten years of helping to safeguard revellers
A group which has been described as ‘Christianity with its sleeves rolled up’ has celebrated ten years of helping to safeguard people who are out and about in Newmarket High Street late on Saturday nights.
Newmarket Town Pastors are a team of Christians from churches in and around Newmarket who look out for people who may be vulnerable, offering help including first aid where necessary but also defusing potentially aggressive situations and fostering good relationships between the public, police, door staff, the local authorities and voluntary agencies.
Two Pastors, always one male and one female, are in the High Street nearly every Saturday night between 10pm and 2am and are now a familiar sight to pub and club goers in their distinctive high visibility yellow jackets and hats. They are in contact with another group member at their base in All Saints’ Church who, in turn, provides a link with ‘prayer volunteers’ at home.
Group co-ordinator Anna Sheasby said that all pastors carried a first aid kit, water, foil blankets and their trademark Freddo chocolate frogs.
“It’s amazing how chocolate can put people back in a good mood,” said Anna. “Often if people are becoming a bit agitated towards each other, calm words and chocolate are the answer.”
Pastors also try to prevent situations getting out of hand by clearing glass, broken bottles or any other potential ‘weapons’ from the street because, as Anna said: “if it’s not there, they can’t use it”.
Each pair carries a radio with a link to the CCTV control room in Bury St Edmunds and to door staff at the High Street pubs and clubs.
“We are not a substitute for the emergency services and we can call for the police or ambulance if it is necessary, and then wait with the person until assistance arrives,” said Anna.
The group is funded through donations and a small grant from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s budget, but is always grateful for any financial help.
Volunteers are also welcome and Anna can be contacted on 07578519388 or at firstname.lastname@example.org by anyone who would like to join a group which goes about its work without fanfare carrying out its aim of providing a positive influence in the town – backed by prayer.