THEY have been keeping people safe on nights out in Bolton for the best part of a decade but Street Angels have now patrolled the streets for the last time.
Bolton Street Angels have been helping revellers in need since 2008 but a lack of volunteers meant that they have made their last patrol this month.
At its peak, the group had a pool of 30 volunteers willing to go out on Friday and Saturday nights but by the end there were just 11 people willing to pull on the yellow jackets..
Over the past nine years, they have helped look after people who have had too much to drink, been separated from their friends or were in distress for various reasons.
The final Friday on December 15 was quiet for the team but there were still people who needed help getting home.
Jacqui Griffiths, secretary of Bolton Street Angels, has been involved since the beginning.
Talking about the last night on patrol, she said: “Surprisingly it was a bit of a damp squib.
“A few people expected it to be dead busy but the security staff and bar staff said it was quiet.
“We had one or two things to deal with but nothing massive. There were a couple of people who had too much to drink so we were there to sober them up and get them in a taxi.
"It wasn’t as busy at is has been in other years. There were six of us out.”
While that was the last night on patrol for the team they did go back out the following evening to give boxes of chocolates to the door staff of all venues in town as a thank you for their support over the years.
They were also gave out socks and gloves to the homeless people in the town.
The group was originally based in Bradshawgate but had to move to Churchgate and then Bank Street Chapel in 2014.
This meant their base as not so central to the pubs and clubs and gave the group less of a presence, leading to fewer people volunteering.
Mrs Griffiths said that, at the beginning, people would come in wanting to volunteer.
While their last night on the streets was quiet, the previous weekend saw volunteers help get one woman to hospital.
Mrs Griffiths said: “The previous week we dealt with a broken ankle. A woman who had walked across the road in heels and fell and broke her ankle.
“We supported the ankle for her and advised her friends that it was best to get a taxi.
"There was no point waiting for an ambulance so we sent them on their way to A&E.
“That does happen from time to time.”
Over the years it is estimated that volunteers removed about 15,000 bottles and glasses from the street to prevent injuries, helped 1,500 people who were vulnerable in some way, gave out 800 bottles of water and 700 pairs of flip flops.
After so long volunteering it was an emotional night for Mrs Griffiths.
She said: “I felt it because I have been doing it for nine years now.
“I think the police and ambulance service will be called a lot more because there is no Street Angels.
“A lot of the bar staff and security were saying they are going to be sad to see us go. They are going to have to cope on their own.”
The organisers have thanked Bank Street Chapel, Christians Together in Bolton, Pubwatch, Town Centre Chaplaincy, Bolton Methodist Mission, Rotary Club, Soroptimists, Christian Night Time Initiatives, Greater Manchester Police and the Salvation Army for their support over the years.
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