Two Rugby Street Pastors to step down after a combined 15 years of service to the town
Two Rugby Street Pastors are stepping down after a combined 15 years of service to the organisation.
As many Rugbeians prepare for a night out on Fridays and Saturdays, volunteers across the town don their uniforms and prepare to patrol the town until the early hours to provide help and a listening ear.
The Street Pastors are a multi-denominational Christian organisation which operate around the world.
Dorn Margetts was one of the first to volunteer for Rugby’s Street Pastors.
She said: “We walk around and have informal chats with people. Sometimes people want to talk about faith and sometimes you have people needing our help.
“They might have had an injury or they might be emotionally upset – we stay with them and have a chat.
“One night I remember we bumped into two people in their early twenties. They had just been to their mum’s funeral and they were really upset. Then about 20 minutes later we bumped into their father or step-father and he was also very upset.”
Volunteers provide practical support in the form of flip-flops for those without shoes and water.
When required, the team also provides hands-on support for those who are ill or injured.
“Another night there we found a 16-year-old girl who was unconscious,” Mrs Margetts said.
“She had been at some sort of party and had come into town to get a McDonald’s. She had become completely unresponsive. It was quite frightening.”
Mrs Margetts and another volunteer waited with the girl for 40 minutes, after which an ambulance arrived.
The team also watches for the safety of those who may be in a vulnerable state.
Mrs Margetts said the team occasionally sees young women who are very intoxicated.
She said:“If we see they are with young lads we will check that the girl knows the lads.”
If necessary, the team arranges taxis for people, and will sit in the taxi with them to ensure they get home safely.
Mrs Margetts, who regularly preaches and volunteers for a number of other charities, said the vast majority of reactions the team gets are positive. Volunteer Anne Love is also set to retire after seven years with the team.
Anne Love, a volunteer of seven years, has decided to step down to volunteer to work with prisoners.
She said: "We have been told by the police and crime commissioner that fights in the town centre have gone down since we started patrolling.
"We're not there to police people, and we don't directly intervene, but we do sometimes ask people if it's really worth fighting."
The reaction from the public is overwhelmingly positive, and volunteers have never felt threatened, she added.
Dawn Thurkettle, Rugby Street Pastor co-ordinator, said she and the rest of her team would like to thank both volunteers for their service.
Visit streetpastors.org/locations/rugby to learn more.