Kent

Whitstable beaches to be patrolled by pastors

The Reverend Helen Letley & Pastor Chris Izzard
Image caption The pastors will offer help to young people partying on the beach

The seaside equivalent of a street pastors' scheme is being launched in a Kent seaside town.

Whitstable Beach Pastors is the result of a combined effort by 14 local churches, and aims to help youngsters who turn up to party on the beach.

Pastors will patrol the beaches every Friday night during the summer.

The Reverend Helen Letley, of St John's Methodist Church, said: "It's lovely to see churches working together... having a vision of practical discipleship."

She said pastors would be offering help wherever it was needed, from organising a taxi to getting someone home safely, to providing flip-flops to a girl having problems with high heels.

'Extra hazards'

The scheme will start next Friday, 20 July.

Chris Izzard, the Pastor of Tankerton Evangelical Church, said the idea had strong support from a member of his congregation.

"He's a serving police officer and knew there was a need within our community for work along the beach-front, in particular where young people congregate and there's drinking and anti-social behaviour."

He added that the sea and a lack of lighting posed extra hazards for young revellers.

The scheme is supported by the Ascension Trust, which oversees street pastors.

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