Christmas angels are earning their wings on the streets of Bedford

Daphne and Ken Cherry from Bedford Street Angels.  Pictures by June Essex.
Daphne and Ken Cherry from Bedford Street Angels. Pictures by June Essex.

Real-life Christmas angels are making sure revellers get home safely during this festive season.

A team of volunteers who spread goodwill throughout the year – not just at Christmas –take to the streets at the weekends to help keep party goers out of harm’s way.

Daphne is on hand to help revellers.

Daphne is on hand to help revellers.

Among the Bedford Street Angels is 74-year-old Daphne Cherry who has been pounding the town centre’s streets into the early hours of the morning since the Christian group was founded almost seven years ago.

She said: “When I first went out I couldn’t believe the clothes that people didn’t wear!

“It is quite fun. Everybody gets on well.

“I think on the whole Bedford is pretty good. A Saturday night is quite a nice time for youngsters to come out and it’s pretty safe because we patrol the streets and the CCTV cameras are watching all the time.”

The dedicated volunteers work alongside police, ambulance and door staff and keep in touch with CCTV operators via radios.

Trained in first aid, their duties include serving up hot drinks to the homeless, staying with those who have had a few too many and helping those who have been separated from their friends and may be lost. They also dish out flip flops to those flagging in high heels.

“One new year’s eve we found a guy who had collapsed and was suffering from hypothermia,” said Daphne, whose husband Ken also volunteers. “If he had been left who knows what the result would have been.”

Daphne was recently awarded the Pride in Bedfordshire Senior Citizens Award for her volunteering, which she has dedicated to the work Bedford Street Angels.

“I was a bit embarrassed really,” she said. “It was good to have it for the street angels because it is good for parents to realise who is looking after their kids.”

Bedford Street Angels was founded by Fred and Fran Gill after their 17 year old son Robert was murdered during a night out in Bedford on Boxing Day in 2007.

Volunteers are out and about every Saturday night from around 10.30pm until the early hours of the following morning and will be helping revellers on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.