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Diocese of Manchester
UK News

Bishop visits gay district to offer help to revellers

by Antony Bushfield

Rt Rev Dr David Walker joined the Street Angels around the Canal Street area on Friday night.

He was offering help to drunk people, making sure they get home safe and offering support to people who were distressed after losing their friends or having arguments.

Bishop David wore the traditional hi-viz top seen on street pastors across the UK.

The clergyman met up with LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Foundation director Paul Martin to discuss first-hand how vital the street angels work is in the "village", widely regarded to be one of the most famous gay districts in the world.

"It was impressive to see the Angels in action, and to witness the very high regard they are held in by the police, the staff who work in the village and the public at large," said Bishop David.

He added: "A lot of their work is just being there for people who have got separated from their friends, or who have found what should have been a good night out has turned sour.

"But it can get a lot more dramatic. One man was attempting to throw himself into the canal. Our patrol helped to hold him secure until the professional assistance we had summoned arrived.

"There's a lot of risky behaviour in the night time economy, whether it be drugs, drink or sex. Angels are not there to condone or condemn, but to be a practical expression of care and support. The Village group have received many letters of thanks, not just from those they've helped but from their friends, parents and relatives too."

The bishop said he was "amazed" at how many people recognised him and said it was "a core part of my role as a bishop is to be a visible sign of God's love reaching out into every corner of the world".

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