First lollipop lady Marjorie raps plans to axe patrols

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A WOMAN, who says she was the first lollipop lady in Suffolk, has attacked moves to axe the patrols.

Marjorie Neal, of Cooper Lane, Nowton, spent more than 30 years ensuring pupils at the now closed Eastgate School in Bury St Edmunds crossed the road safely.

She has condemned plans by Suffolk County Council to put the brakes on the 62 patrols and six relief posts it operates in the region to save £174,000.

The 77-year-old said: “It’s wrong and they can’t do away with them.

“You get some really awkward people on the roads these days so they should keep the lollipop attendants.”

Mrs Neal became an attendant after she spotted cars failing to stop as children attempted to cross the road.

She said: “I got in touch with the police and told them they needed a lollipop lady so I got the job.

“The police said I was the first lollipop lady in Suffolk.

“What I enjoyed most was looking after the children but I got to know many parents and made a lot of friends through the job.

“I also used to work in the kitchen as a cook at St James’ Middle School.”

The crossing patrols facing the chop in Bury include Oliver Road, which serves Westley Middle and Westgate Street, which caters for St Edmunds Catholic primary.

Also under threat is the attendant for St Louis Catholic Middle School in St Andrew’s Street South as well as the patrol in Westley Road, which is used by children from Sexton’s Manor primary and Westley middle.

Members of Bury St Edmunds Town Council are looking into the possibility of rescuing these four patrols.

The senior management team at Horringer Court Middle also face a dilemma as they have been on patrol duties in Glastonbury Road as a ‘short term solution’ after their lollipop man retired last autumn.

According to figures released by the county council, patrols work an average of 7.2 hours a week during term time.

The average pay of a patrol is £2,232 a year.

Legally it is possible for the council to delegate the service to a school or another authority but they would need to fulfil all the supervisory responsibilities.

A decision about the school crossing patrols will be made on February 17.