A HOST of new guardian angels who help look out for revellers have earned their wings.
Street Pastors have been patrolling Sunderland for nearly three years, with a fourth legion now commissioned
The ceremony at City Life Church in Millfield saw five new Street Pastors sworn in, watched by Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Coun Robert and Julianna Heron, Sunderland Area Commander Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, Pc Gillian Calvert and Canon Sheila Bambrough.
Councillor Heron said: “The partnership developed between the Street Pastors and the local council was one that is an encouragement to everybody concerned. It is great to see the church getting involved in this way, and long may it continue.”
Chief Supt Blyth added: “The work of Street Pastors was recognised as a major part of safety in the night-time economy, and on behalf of Northumbria Police I would like to thank all the Street Pastor volunteers for their dedication and hard work.”
Any Christian church member aged over 18 can apply to be a pastor.
Volunteers go through a three-month training programme, working closely with police and paramedics, before being issued with the high-visibility uniform.
Sunderland’s 40 Street Pastors take to the streets on Friday and Saturday nights, from 10pm to 4am, helping partygoers who run into difficulties after dark.
There are now more than 100 towns and cities in the UK with street pastors.
Sunderland co-ordinator Colin Fozzard said: “Street Pastors continue to grow and be an influence upon the city.
“There voluntary work is seen by many as an essential part of the help offered to people on the streets of Sunderland every weekend evening.
“Being a listening ear, making sure someone gets safely to a taxi, or giving out flip-flops to girls who could potentially harm themselves by walking barefoot are just some of the ways Street Pastors make sure that people are kept safe in our city.
“It’s been really positive since day one and, if anything, even more so.”