A VOLUNTARY group which safeguards the streets of Bury St Edmunds has received £7,000 – largely from a legacy left by West Suffolk’s first female police sergeant.
The Bury Town Pastors were given the money by Southgate Church which was bequeathed a substantial sum from Brenda Mann, who died last year aged 92.
The group, which has 95 volunteers from 32 churches, will use the funds to continue its work patrolling the club and bar areas of the town centre most Friday and Saturday nights.
The Rev Rob Hufton, chairman of Bury Town Pastors management committee, said: “We’re grateful to Southgate Church for this generous donation which will make a huge difference helping us to offer assistance to people who might get into difficulties late at night.”
A regular worshipper at the church, Miss Mann joined the police in 1951 and worked in Lowestoft and Felixstowe.
In 1961 she took a promotion and moved from the old East Suffolk Constabulary to the former West Suffolk Constabulary.
In moving across the county she became the West Suffolk force’s first and only woman police sergeant. In 1993, she was awarded an MBE for services to police welfare.
When she died following a 12 year battle against cancer, she left 70 per cent (£191,494.46) of her estate to St Nicholas Hospice Care, 25 per cent to Southgate Church and five per cent to Angel Hill Surgery.
The Rev Peter Gibson, minister of Southgate Church, said: “Our mission is to give away a significant portion of our income each year and we wanted to make a real difference to the work of a local organisation which we have supported since its inception.
“Many people in our congregation are involved in different ways in the work of the Town Pastors so it was a natural cause for us to bless – and one close to Brenda’s interests and values, too.”
Meanwhile, Bid4Bury has donated a laptop computer to the Town Pastors to enable them to train new volunteers and raise awareness of their work.