‘WONDERFUL’ volunteers who look after late-night revellers in Rugby town centre have been honoured by the town’s Mayor.
Rugby’s Street Pastors have received one of Mayor Maggie O’Rourke’s first Special Appreciation Awards in recognition of their ‘outstanding work in keeping visitors to our night-time economy safe’.
The Street Pastors, who patrol the town centre every weekend from 10pm-4am, were nominated for the award by Coun John Slinger after he shadowed them on a shift.
The Christian volunteers bring a calming presence to the town centre on Friday and Saturday evenings – whether pointing people in the right direction, persuading people not to do something they might later regret, providing emergency first aid, giving out flip-flops and lollipops, or providing a shoulder to cry on.
The Mayor invited the Street Pastors to receive the Award in the Mayor’s Parlour at Rugby Town Hall.
Dawn Thurkettle, Coordinator of Rugby Street Pastors, said: “It is a joy and a privilege to serve our community and show the church in action serving our town.
“On behalf of the whole team, I would like to thank the Mayor for her Special Appreciation Award. Although none of us do this for recognition, it is a welcome boost for all of our Street and Prayer Pastors, who so diligently and consistently serve our town with love, smiles, flip-flops and lollipops.
“The team is so thankful for the endorsement of the Police, Rugby Borough Council, Rugby First and the churches across Rugby working together to serve our community enabling us to patrol and serve our town. We also thank Warwickshire Police and Crime Commission Philip Seccombe and his team for their continued support and funding enabling us to recruit, train and deliver a safe and effective service for Rugby.”
The Mayor said: “Every week our wonderful Street Pastors go out into Rugby Town Centre giving out lollipops and positivity to reduce tension and build friendships with local youngsters.
“They protect and look after our young people who sometimes find themselves in vulnerable situations. They are respected and loved by all and as the first citizen of Rugby I want to thank them on behalf of the borough for all that they do.”
Coun Slinger said: “Having spent a Saturday night with the Street Pastors in Rugby town centre, I saw first-hand the incredible work that this team of well-trained volunteers do for our community.
“They’re very deliberately not an emergency service, or part of law enforcement, but are a reassuring presence to residents and visitors to our town at night-time. I saw how they project kindness and love as well as practical support and were universally respected and valued by people they met.
“Their aura was infectious and can only strengthen our community. I’m delighted that Madam Mayor has given them this award, in recognition of their work.”
The Mayor’s Special Appreciation Award, a new initiative introduced by Mayor O’Rourke, is given to organisations and individuals whose work strengthens the community.
Rugby Street Pastors have been operating in Rugby town centre for the past 14 years. To support or join the team, contact Dawn Thurkettle at [email protected] or on 07738 625547.