COMMENT

STREET Pastors. What are they for? Why should the taxpayer fund them? Aren’t they just do-gooders who should mind their own business?

Just getting a few of the inevitable issues out of the way.

Because anyone who saw them out and about last weekend will know just how valuable this band of volunteers is going to be.

The Derbyshire Times sent a reporter out on to the streets of Chesterfield with the pastors to get a clear view of who they were and why they were there.

The answer? They are just ordinary folk who want to help. It’s a fact that our streets are at their most fraught in the late weekend hours when copious amounts of drink have been consumed and, as a result, people can be at their most vulnerable. The pastors don’t preach, they don’t try to ‘convert’ and they don’t monopolise. But we have no doubt their very presence will bring comfort, solace and safety to many.

Congratulations to the New Inn at Winsick, winner of the first Derbyshire Times Pub of the Year competition.

The fact that almost 1,000 people voted is heartening indeed and shows, amid talk of the decline of village and community pubs, just how strongly people want to support and preserve them.