Lowestoft urged to join fight for patrols

The people of Lowestoft have been told to turn out in force on Friday to support a last ditch campaign to save the town's lollipop men and women.

Last night a public meeting to discuss proposals to axe the town's 14 crossing patrol staff heard a petition was to be handed to Suffolk County Council leaders on Friday demanding the posts be saved for road safety reasons.

And as people were urged to attend the petition handover at 11am outside the Britten Shopping Centre, residents were also asked to knock on their county councillors' doors ahead of a crunch vote on February 17.

Last night's meeting in the Hollingsworth Road community centre was attended by about 30 people and had been organised by lollipop woman Lian Shepherd and the Gunton Estate Tenant and Residents Association.

The meeting heard that on Friday Mrs Shepherd and her colleagues, who are on a 90 day redundancy consultation, will be handing over more than 3,500 signed letters supporting them to county councillor Sandy Martin, who will then take the forms to council bosses.

On hearing of the handover the meeting's chairman, Roger Bellham, said the whole town should rally around the crossing patrol staff on Friday morning.

He said: 'All we want [the council] to do is rethink the strategy on crossing patrols.'

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The county council wants to slash all 60 crossing patrol staff in Suffolk to save �174,000 from its under pressure budget.

Bob Blizzard, former Waveney MP, told the meeting that people should find out the home addresses of all their county councillors and then knock on their doors to ask how they would vote on February 17 at the full council meeting.

Mr Blizzard said local politicians' future political careers on the county council relied on them saying the following to the electorate: 'Vote for me because I saved lollipop people or vote for me because I dumped the lollipop people.'