Street Angels Maidenhead first began patrolling the town centre on weekends on Friday, February 11, 2011.
The Christian volunteers hand out water, insulated foil blankets and flipflops to help party-goers get home when they have overindulged on a night out.
They are in the town centre every Saturday night, and the final Friday of the month when many are out spending their pay in Maidenhead’s bars.
Viv Lee, who attends St Mary’s Church in St Mary’s Close, is the group’s chairman of trustees.
She said Street Angels was set up after the police contacted the Rev Mark Balfour, of St Peter’s Church, to tell him about a similar scheme which was making a ‘tremendous difference’ in Watford.
Word was sent round Maidenhead’s churches to round up volunteers.
Six months later, and Maidenhead Street Angels was out on the town.
Dealing with drunks may sound intimidating, but Viv says the work is ‘great fun’.
She said: “Some nights we see nothing, other nights people wait for us, they know who we are, they know we’re sensible, they say ‘can I have a chat?’.
“They’ve gone through a life crisis and need someone to talk to.”
Viv, a retired pharmacy professional, said the team, which is normally a mixed-sex group made up of three out of around 16 volunteers, starts the night outside The Bear in the High Street at 10.45pm.
They then do a circuit of the town via Queen Street and King Street.
Peak time, she said, is when most are moving from the pubs to the late bars and Smokey Joe’s nightclub.
They make sure vulnerable people get home, provide insulated ‘space jackets’ for those who have not got coats, hand out water, and have a supply of flipflops for those struggling to walk in their dancing shoes.
The first-aid trained volunteers also practise what Viv calls ‘ministry by lollipop’ to calm down rowdy or aggressive groups.
She said: “You go up with the lollipop, say ‘would you like a lollipop?’
“By the time they’ve got the lollipop in their mouth they’ve forgotten they’ve been silly and the whole thing diffuses.”
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