LADY luck has smiled on the angels working round the clock to keep us safe this Christmas.

When a fire erupted in the En-Vogue club sign, next door to the base of Bolton Street Angels, the voluntary group's efforts were thrown into doubt.

But despite the hasty evacuation from the Bradshawgate unit, the angels, whose numbers are now down to 25 having launched in 2009, are still in business.

Bolton Street Angels, which mostly gives first aid and arrange travel home for clubbers, operates in Bolton every Saturday night, but is adding Boxing Day and New Year's Eve to its festive list.

The current home, formerly a Pizza takeaway, was undamaged despite the fire, while the group's equipment survived as well.

Adrienne Tonge, from the Street Angels, said: "We administer first aid where it is required.

"Some just need to calm down before getting into a taxi to get home. This place is a safe place where they can sober up.

"We will deal with 20 people that will probably need a good degree of assistance.

"Fifteen of those might have required an ambulance without us and the police would not know what to do with them."

Easing the burden on the emergency services, on busy nights such as Mad Friday when five people were arrested in the town centre, is a chief aim for the Street Angels.

The surroundings, with club music from neighbouring En-Vogue pounding through the walls, are hardly peaceful, but Ms Tonge is grateful they have such a prominent spot in Bradshawgate.

She added: "We are lucky to have this spot, and the club owner has no issues with us using it.

"Our help can be very simple, such as charging someone's phone so they can contact their friends or parents to come and get them.

"Even that is helping them to help themselves, and avoiding someone walking home alone, for example, and being vulnerable."

After five years operating, Ms Tonge and the group are facing increasing problems with decreasing numbers.

She said: "We are down to 25 now which is really tough.

"Pre-loading is a big issue now, with lots of people drinking before they come out.

"It is not helping the night-time economy for people to get drunk very quickly as things deteriorate.

"Things have declined since we started.

"It is not solely a Bolton issue. It is the idea of people going out to get really, really drunk as the aim of the night.

"Rather than going out simply to have a good time."

If you are interested in becoming a Bolton Street Angel visit or visit its website.