Labour councillor Harry Cartmill volunteers with the Bathgate Street Pastors – celebrating a decade of the volunteers patrolling the streets.

The Bathgate Street Pastors are celebrating their tenth anniversary as they support vulnerable people.

The Christian support group has been active in the community for the last decade, with volunteers representing the Bathgate churches taking to the streets at the weekend.

Working alongside other professionals, the volunteers support, listen and care for nighttime revellers in the town.

Instrumental in the formation of the Bathgate Street Pastors was local councillor, Harry Cartmill.

He said: “In the ten years I’ve had the privilege of representing Bathgate on the council I have no prouder achievement than initiating and fostering the setting up of Bathgate Street Pastors.

“I first saw the street pastors in action within Liverpool City Centre in the late 1990s when I was based there as chair of the UK Coalition Against Poverty and was deeply impressed with their commitment to helping all those enjoying the nightlife who just needed some support or a caring word.

“Bathgate had a vibrant night time economy in 2012 when I was first elected so I was keen to try hard to establish a Street Pastor team in our town with the full support of our local police and all the Bathgate churches, we launched in September of that year.”

The Bathgate Street Pastors work at weekends from the hours of 10pm until 4am and can usually be found in and around the town centre or in ‘The Hub’ which is generally parked in the pedestrian precinct.

Locals can recognise the pastors from their hi-vis uniforms.

Harry Cartmill continued: “So let’s celebrate the last ten years of the Bathgate Pastors – ten years of dispensing flip flops to young women wearing ‘killer heels’ – which are not conducive to wet or slippery Bathgate pavements!

“Ten years of wrapping youngsters in insulation blankets when summer clothing is worn in the depths of winter.

“Ten years of making sure many vulnerable young people get home safely and crucially lending a sympathetic ear to those simply needing someone to talk to.

“I pay tribute to all who give their time voluntarily as part of the Street Pastor Team with a special mention to the wonderful High Church Stalwart Janet Purdie who has been with us since day one.

“Here’s to the next ten years!”