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Street pastors celebrated after Covid delay

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Old and new street pastors in Torbay and South Devon were recognised.

It has been a long time coming for them with Covid delaying the appointment of new pastors and celebrating those who have now reached their 10th birthday.

The event was organized by Torbay coordinator Gill Hayllor, assisted by Newton Abbot coordinator Dixie Kendall-Dunn.

Guest speakers included Torbay MP Kevin Foster and Torbay Council Leader Steve Darling who have previously lived Saturday evenings with Torbay pastors as observers.

There were over 14 special people who received their 10 year certificates and awards. The last commissioning dates back to 2019.

The evening ended with a special award for retired coordinator Trevor Staverley who earlier this year also received the MBE for his work with pastors and other charities.

Pastors are back on the streets, despite some local rumors that Covid killed them – a Saturday night is never over until at least one unconscious person is taken to hospital because their drink was spiked or that someone has experimented with alcohol and some kind of drug.

A spokesperson said: ‘Rough sleepers are also being helped. I was in Newton Abbot one night and met five homeless people – the most I’ve seen in one night for over a year. We then look for a hot drink for them.

She added, “Young people love pastors. In the 10 years that I have been a pastor, I have never received abuse, just love, respect and thanks for all that we do.

“They are amazed that we are volunteers and don’t get paid for what we do, and that most of us are grandparents and seek to help where we can, because one of the people vulnerable could be our grandchildren.

“If we go home helping just one person get home safely, we also go home knowing we did a good job and are happy to be there.”