Lollipop patrollers thanked as service marks 60 years

School lollipop patrollers are thanked by senior councillors in Aylesbury
School lollipop patrollers are thanked by senior councillors in Aylesbury

Two senior county councillors paid tribute to the dedication of Bucks’lollipop patrollers this week.

School crossing patrollers mark their 60th anniversary this year and to celebrate they were invited to a reception in Aylesbury.

They were presented with commemorative badges and certificates.

Buckinghamshire County Council chairman Carl Etholen told them: “You work in all weathers, you show such dedication, and you provide such a valuable service. You deserve great recognition: long may you continue.”

Transport chief Janet Blake added: “Their valuable contribution to the safety of children travelling to and from school is much appreciated and we hope to encourage more people to become crossing patrollers.”

The idea for School Crossing Patrollers came in the late 1940s when two of the newly created road safety officers in Dagenham and Barking (Jock Brining and Dorothy Pummell) recognised a growing problem with the safety of child pedestrians given the increasing volume of traffic on roads.

At that time around 90% of children walked to school unaccompanied and also played out on the streets. Children were advised to ask an adult to see them across busy roads, but Jock Brining had the idea of ‘official’ adults to help children on their way to school at points where traffic was at its busiest.

Jock and Dorothy persuaded their councils to agree to the idea and went on to employ ‘active retired gentlemen’ as ‘traffic wardens’, who wore white coats and peaked hats – as worn by park keepers at the time.

The idea proved popular and soon spread to other London boroughs, and as more wardens were appointed the Metropolitan Police took over responsibility for the new service. The SCP service was born when the Government recognised the value of having a service that crossed children at busy and difficult locations.

The service was officially created by the School Crossing Patrol Act in 1953.

The first official patrol started work in 1954 and while the uniform and sign have changed to meet modern standards – and patrols can now stop traffic to cross any pedestrian, adult or child - the role is essentially the same today as it was 60 years ago.