We’ve saved our lollipop lady – now over to you

Sandra Guy with mums Lindsey Turner and her daughter Reihana, three, Trudi Clark, Mel Duncan and Jo Rainsley
Sandra Guy with mums Lindsey Turner and her daughter Reihana, three, Trudi Clark, Mel Duncan and Jo Rainsley

Schools have just one day left to save their lollipop ladies.

The Save Irchester Lollipop Lady campaign group has led the way in the fight to save the school crossing patrol service after Northamptonshire County Council announced plans to axe the service.

In a dramatic U-turn last month the authority said it would maintain a service if at least 10 local schools, parish councils or community groups would be willing to follow the Irchester group’s plans and pay for it themselves.

The Irchester group reached its funding target this week, after raising more than £1,700 and county councillor Sue Homer and Irchester Parish Council pledging to donate the rest.

But at least nine more schools need to pledge more than £8,000 to fund their own crossing patrol for the next three years if the county council is to continue running the service. So far six have confirmed.

Richard Hall, from the county Highways department, said: “We don’t expect all of the money to be paid immediately by July 22, but we need to have an agreement in place.”

Melanie Duncan, who has spearheaded the Save Irchester campaign, said: “It’s a great outcome for us but we are urging other communities to get the money to keep their crossing patrols and save this service.

“We have a very busy main road going right through our village and a lollipop lady is important for our children’s safety.”

Irchester Parish Council and Cllr Homer pledged to support the campaign financially at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Cllr Homer said: “I will find the £2,500 for the first year and I will come up with a third of the money for the second and third year.”

Cllr Pam Armstrong, chairman of Irchester Parish Council, said: “I think it’s quite sad that we have got to the point that we are being forced into funding this service, and at short notice. The timing has been absolutely disgusting.”

Julia Alison, headteacher of Irchester Community Primary School, said: “The school’s position has been to support the campaign.”