Lives ‘at risk’ as lollipop lady’s post is axed

Angry parents of children who attend a Bexhill primary school say lives will be put at risk when the school crossing patrol is axed at the end of the summer term.

King Offa Primary Academy’s crossing patrol (lollipop) lady, Anne Hickson, is losing her job due to government and council cuts. Anne, one of 10 lollipop ladies in East Sussex whose positions are being axed, has worked at the school for eight years and said she loves it, adding: “It’s not fair.

“The school does need a lollipop lady. I don’t want to lose my job. I enjoy it and it fits in with my lifestyle as I have a disabled husband.”

Anne said it doesn’t make sense that Aurora Academies Trust, which runs the school, is willing to pay for a second crossing person at Glenleigh Park School, Gunters Lane - a position which she has been offered - but have none at King Offa, Down Road, considered more dangerous.

King Offa’s Headmaster, Mr Freeston, said the school has been endeavouring to find a way to keep the position open. “We’ve been trying to find a sponsorship route but haven’t had any luck so far. If anyone would like to help us with this we’d like to hear from them.”

Parents who use the crossing are outraged that children’s lives will be put at risk if there is no one to help them cross Down Road.

Alex Morton, who has a five year old child at King Offa, said she will use an alternative route. “Its dreadful that they are doing away with the lollipop lady - it will be a complete disaster.

“That road is a nightmare and without anyone to help us across I will take the long way round and go through the alleys. “It will be easier and safer.”

Father-of-two, Tommy Jones, said it will only be a matter of time before a child is killed or seriously injured.

“It’s disgraceful, its such a busy road with a lot of traffic and the addition of all the lorries working on the Link road has made it even worse.

“Whenever the crossing patrol lady has not been on duty the road has been a nightmare to cross.

“Without a crossing patrol it will be a case, not of if, but when a child will get knocked down.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said due to reductions in funding, they’ve had to make difficult decisions. “It’s simply not feasible to continue to fund crossing patrols which do not meet nationally accepted criteria, based on the number of cars present and the number of pupils crossing the road. We don’t want to see crossing patrols taken away from schools where staff and parents want them and will continue to work with the school to assist them in securing sponsorship or recruiting volunteers.”