DCSIMG

A diamond date for the lollipops

Pat Bryan, who patrols the A505 at Stopsley, shares her specially decorated cake with Cllr DaveTaylor and Luton's school crossing patrols to celebrate the service's diamond anniversary

Pat Bryan, who patrols the A505 at Stopsley, shares her specially decorated cake with Cllr DaveTaylor and Luton's school crossing patrols to celebrate the service's diamond anniversary

 

Lollipop ladies and men gathered to celebrate 60 years of service in Luton on Thursday.

Luton Borough Council currently has patrols at 42 busy and difficult locations in the town who help children cross the road on their way to and from school.

Liberal Democrat councillors expressed fears that the council is going to stop paying crossing patrol wages in April, but the council denied this.

A council spokesman said: “The council has no plans to withdraw funding for the provision of the School Crossing Patrol Service from April 2014. Although the council included a medium term proposal in principle in its 2013/14 budget, more detailed consideration has led to this item being withdrawn for 2014/15.”

When a patrol leaves, the council assesses the site for traffic and pedestrian flow and if it does not meet the national criteria, the patrol is withdrawn.

Leader of the Lib Dems David Franks said he believes the Labour council is “committed to save £210,000 by ceasing all council-provided patrols”.

He said: “There is a really worrying perspective to this. Whilst they are looking for alternative options it is clear our Labour council has no intention of continuing to provide this vital service. They may be able to convince schools that they should pay for the service, but that does not get away from the fact that by withdrawing from the service themselves the council is putting children’s lives at risk.”

The first official school crossing patrol in Luton started in 1954. Luton’s longest serving patrol is Catherine Sullivan who started on November 5, 1979 and has worked at the same site in Trinity Road.

Councillor Dave Taylor said: “Luton’s serving school crossing patrols have between them clocked up 288 years of experience and we owe our staff past and present a great gratitude for the work carried out every school day and in all weathers. The council is committed to actively supporting pupils and parents in walking to school and it’s comforting to know our school crossing patrols are helping to keep them safe on their journeys.”

Heather Pavey, 54, who patrols Putteridge Road, near Putteridge Primary School, received an award for 25 years’ service. She said: “It’s a wonderful job. The children and the parents make it for me, And some of the children who I used to help years ago, I am now helping their children cross the road.”

 

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