A GROUP of newly qualified Street Pastors in Hampshire celebrated graduating in style.

The street pastors will now be a familiar sight every Friday evening for people living in Chandler’s Ford, Hedge End, Eastleigh and Fair Oak.

Their work will range from helping revellers look after themselves to lending a supportive ear and helping those in need.

They completed 12 weeks of varied training every Saturday morning to gear them up to handle whatever situations arise in their pastoral duties.

The 19 new pastors graduated at a ceremony with friends and relatives at St Martin in the Wood church in Chandler’s Ford, as part of the ceremony they were given talks by Nick Cornish from the Ascension Trust as well as police inspector Lisa Stevens, Cllr Wayne Irish and Rev Tim Searle of Chandler’s Ford United Reformed Church.

Co-ordinator at Chandler’s Ford Street Pastors, Claire Branford, said: “They are raring to go, the rotas are all made up with their names included and we have an extra team out for New Year’s Eve in Chandler’s Ford.”

“I think they will be great they are a really good team and they gelled well in the training and they are all very good listeners.”

She added she is glad that the pastors will be at the forefront of the community.

She said: “It is all about community responsibility and giving back to the community.

“It is good to see the church working at the centre of the community with the council and police and it is nice to be in the middle of that circle.”