Three seasoned Cookstown Street Angels have decided to take to the skies to raise money for a defibrillator that could save lives on their patrols.
The brave trio, who are planning to jump 10,000 feet from a plane in the next few months, are hosting a series of fundraising events in support of their challenge.
Edel Collins, who’s been a Street Angel for some time, said the group is hoping not only to raise money for the charity, but also to raise awareness of just how important their work is.
From administering first aid to revellers with cuts and bruises to helping those too drunk to stand or being ill in the streets, the Mail has seen first hand the value of their work.
But this doesn’t explain why Cookstown Street Angels came to be, or why local people give up their time to help’.
“We all have reasons why we do Street Angels,” said Edel. “Madge has a reason she comes out on a Saturday night and leaves her wee boy, Gillian has the same.
“We’re taking time away from our families so we can help other people’s children.”
Despite common misconceptions, Cookstown Street Angels is not a religious group, but was formed out of a need to help vulnerable people who find themselves stranded on the streets, often a little worse for wear.
Trevor, who now leads the Street Angels said they were formed as the result of a number crimes.
“There was a couple of rapes in the town and people being stabbed. A number of the relations of those people and a number of the victims decided they wanted to do something to try and stop this from happening again.
“So, the Street Angels was formed to try and put people out on the street to stop disputes just by being there - because if there’s a witness, people are less likely to do it.
“It got backing from the police [in 2013] and grew from there,” he added.
But now, the group operates as a charity and has to do most of its own fundraising as well as its own recruitment.
“We are always looking for new people,” Trevor continued. As for the impact they have, he said: “A lot of parents come back to thank us and give us a cheque. But sometimes it’s not a child, it could be a wife coming to pick a husband up. Whenever they’re in that state, they are all children.”
If you would like to support the Street Angels on their parachute jump, you can make a donation through Facebook or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also a jar of sweets behind the counter in Sheehy’s Newsagents, a great supporter of Cookstown Street Angels, where you can guess the number for a small donation.