Lollipop lady set to be axed after 33 years service

Pauline Forward St Mary Magdalene's School lollipop lady
Pauline Forward St Mary Magdalene's School lollipop lady

Another Bexhill ‘Lollipop’ lady, due to have her job axed as part of council cost saving measures, said she is “very concerned” for children’s safety.

Pauline Forward has dedicated over 33 years at St Mary Magdalene’s Roman Catholic Primary School as one of the school’s crossing patrol personnel.

Pauline’s son-in-law, Andy Lawes, says during the past 33 years Pauline has safely seen three generations of family’s across “very busy and dangerous cross roads” between Penland Rd, Hastings Road and Wrestwood Road. “This crossing, because of the amount of traffic, students, parents and children crossing, used to have two lollipop personnel but Pauline struggled for the last year by herself. Now, at the beginning of the new school year in September, no lollipop operatives will be manning the crossing because of petty cost cutting strategies of the council!”

A total of 11 ‘lollipop’ school crossing patrols are being axed across East Sussex due to East Sussex County Council (ESCC) funding cuts. ESCC say they had to “make very difficult decisions” and that it’s “simply not feasible to continue to fund crossing patrols which do not meet nationally accepted criteria based on the number of cars and the number of pupils crossing the road.”

But Mr Lawes said this makes little sense. “The development of Worsham Farm into a large housing estate, with offices, shops, industrial estate and eventually up to 5000 houses, will make the already busy junction that Pauline man’s even more dangerous. With an average of two cars per household that is a potential of another 10,000 cars on this already over run road system. The new bypass will not take any traffic away from this area, and if councillors and planners really believe this they are living in cloud cuckoo land.”

“On top of the cars there will be lorries and contractors traffic pounding our already very pot holed local roads for the foreseeable future, lives are at risk! The problem is, it will take a life to do something about it. That is a price too much to pay.”

A sprightly 72 year old, Pauline is troubled that her job is to go. She said: “I am very deeply upset about the situation with all the Lollipop personnel cuts and very concerned for the safety of children.”

Acting Headteacher at St Mary Magdalene’s, Miss Vanderschelden, said the school is sad to lose their loyal Lollipop lady Pauline, who has cheerfully looked after the pupils come rain or shine for 33 years, adding: “I am appalled that funding has been withdrawn from this valuable service and many schools are now expected to find their own sponsorship if they wish to continue. St Mary Magdalene School is next to a busy junction and whilst it does have traffic lights our children will now be left very vulnerable.”