07:54AM, Friday 27 September 2013
Wrapped up warm in their blue coats with a mug of hot coffee, the Windsor Street Angels prepare for another night on the town.
The group of five volunteers will be patrolling the streets until at least 3.30am, keeping a watchful eye over the night-time revellers.
Janet Wingrove, team leader, and her team kindly invited me (Express reporter Philip Dewey) out on their town centre patrol on Friday as part of Alcohol Harm Week, an initiative run by Thames Valley Police.
Meeting at Windsor Baptist Church in Victoria Street at 10pm, the Angels made their way out into the night, visiting William Street, Peascod Street, Goswell Hill, Windsor Royal Station and Bachelors Acre.
This journey is repeated three or four times a night, concentrating on Goswell Hill and William Street in the early hours when the main nightclubs close.
On their travels the Angels spoke to a number of doormen and clubbers while handing out water, lollipops, 'Spikey' bottle stoppers to prevent drink spiking, and flip flops to appreciative girls in six-inch heels.
Janet, who has been with the Angels since they formed in February 2012, said: "Since I started I have seen everything, but it is so satisfying.
"When you come home to bed in the early hours of the morning knowing that you have helped a 16-year-old girl who has been in a state, called her parents and got her home safe, you feel good about yourself."
The Angels are in constant contact with police, doormen and a taxi marshal through a radio system which they can use to call for back-up or assistance.
They are trained to deal with a number of situations using first aid, drugs and alcohol awareness, observational skills, CCTV and radio communication and conflict resolution.
Speaking of some of her experiences on patrol, Janet said: "We found a lad slumped in a phone box near Windsor Central train station on a night when it was minus seven celsius.
"He had hypothermia coming on so we took him back to the church, wrapped him up in a blanket and arranged for a taxi to take him to Slough station in the morning to get a train back to Portsmouth."
"I don’t think he would have made the night if we hadn't found him."
She added: "Another night, a girl was so drunk that she managed to break a wine bottle and then fell on the glass cutting herself, but it turned out she was a haemophiliac.
"We managed to treat her at the scene and called for an ambulance, but I dread to think what would have happened had we not been there."
PCSO David Bullock, who formed the group with Churches Together in Windsor, praised the work of the Angels.
"They are invaluable to the community and the group has gone from strength to strength," he said.
"The town really couldn’t do without them because they provide such a valuable service."
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