A night on the streets with the Newmarket Town Pastors
you got any chocolate?When I agreed to come out with the Town Pastors on the mean streets of Newmarket, I half expected I would be breaking up fights like an avenging angel, rather than handing out Freddo bars.But nothing about my Saturday night patrolling the town centre adhered to my preconceptions apart from maybe the bitter cold.The Newmarket Town Pastors are a hardy bunch who spend their Saturday nights offering support to vulnerable people as thousands of revellers descend on the centre of town.The county wide initiative, which has attracted much praise for reducing the burden on the emergency services, was introduced in 2006 and there are now around 65 people in the Newmarket group.On each active night a minimum of 12 people are involved, with two mixed pairs of town pastors patrolling the streets while six people pray for them at home in one hour shifts.Co ordinated by Newmarket Churches Together, there is also a team at their base who log incidents through the night and make refreshments.I arrive at All Saints church at 9.15pm on a cold Saturday evening just before Christmas where the team are gearing up for the night.Stuffing their bags full of Freddos, space blankets and bottled water, there are cackles of delight as the team discover they have been given bags of gummy bears by Suffolk Police, who drop by for a quick briefing.Team leader Tony Hodg michael kors outlet online e tells me: can be anything from helping people who have lost their friends or low grade medical issues like someone throwing up.it is people who are really angry because they have had a bit too much to drink and have just been thrown out of a club.want to calm that situation down by talking to them and allowing them to vent. Otherwise these things can really escalate. adds: it can be something as little as giving someone a chocolate bar which can diffuse things. suited up in high vis jackets and some festive tinsel and lights we set off into the cold night.The town pastors wor michael kors outlet online k in pairs from 10pm to 4am, so I set out with Tony and his wife Jan who have been patrolling the streets for nearly five years.On our walk we stop to talk to police officers, bar owners, homeless people and door staff, who are all team players in this strange twilight pageant.Donna Woollard, one of the owners of Unique bar, in Sun Lane, chats to the pastors for a while.She tells me: think they do a fantastic job. These guys are always out on the streets even when it is really cold and so few people know what they do. crack jokes with us and show off their festive michael kors outlet online attire whilst trying to get their hands on some of those chocolate bars.Tony and Jan spend some time with a man who is tryi michael kors outlet online ng to get home but is too drunk to remember the way to the taxi rank.He tries to sell me a horse this is Newmarket after all before we can put him into a cab.Another man nearly falls into the path of an oncoming car before being scooped up by Jan and Tony, who neatly usher him towards the taxi rank.At midnight we head back to base for a well earned cup of tea and I spend an hour with Andy Taylor as he co ordinates the operation between those praying at home and the pastors on the streets.Over some deliciously warming toast, the former jockey tells me: used to be one of the people out there in the town, getting so drunk every night.can only say I was lost as I was unhappy in my life and unhappy in my job. became a Christian five years ago and has now given up drinking for good.He tells me: I am a carer, I just love helping people. I just felt this was a way to give something back to the community. I head home, I think of the team patrolling the streets until 4am and I am astounded by their determination to continue as the night gets darker and the revellers more drunk and intimidating.