Lollipop men and women fight for their jobs in Lowestoft protest

Lollipop men and women were out in Lowestoft town centre at the weekend to campaign for their jobs to be saved.

Suffolk County Council is reviewing their role as part of its cost-saving plans and over the school Christmas holidays a letter was sent out to tell staff that their jobs were at risk.

The proposal is to scrap all of the 60 positions in Suffolk, as well as four relief positions, saving approximately �174,000.

In total there are 14 posts in Lowestoft, one in Beccles and three in Bungay, although two of these are vacant.

About 15 school crossing patrollers met in Lowestoft on Saturday to drum up public support and said children's lives would be put in jeopardy if their positions were lost.

They gave out leaflets calling on people to sign an online petition and letters to be sent to councillors ahead of a Suffolk County Council meeting on February 17, which will consider the future of the school crossing patrol service. Lian Shepherd, of Carlton Colville, is one of those leading the fight.

Mrs Shepherd, 63, said: 'I know they have got difficult decisions to make, but this one could cost kiddies' lives. I work on a four-way roundabout on the A12. We have enough trouble dressed in day-glo. The cars hardly stop for us, so they are not going to stop for the children. Half the time they are not going to be able to see them.'

Most Read

The patrollers work from 7.45-9am and 3-4pm each school day, for �6.38 an hour. The average pay is �2,232 per year.

Maureen Gook, 73, lives in Colville Road, in Oulton Broad, and has been a lollipop woman for 20 years.

She said: 'I love the children – they are like our family. I was shocked when I heard.

'Something is going to happen, but it will be too late to reverse the decision then. That is why we are telling them to reverse the decision now.'

Suffolk County councillor Guy McGregor, portfolio holder for roads, transport and planning said: 'Proposals relating to the future of the school crossing patrol service will be considered by full council on February 17.'

The men and women were supported on Saturday by Waveney TUC, which is campaigning against the government cuts and is organising a public meeting at the Kirkley Centre in London Road South on Wednesday at 8pm.

The lollipop petition is online at www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveourlollipops