Hundreds sign up to save lollipop lady

Parents from Towcester Primary school are petitioning to keep lollipop lady, Bet Lowe.
Parents from Towcester Primary school are petitioning to keep lollipop lady, Bet Lowe.
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PARENTS have gathered more than 500 signatures for a petition to save the Vernon Road lollipop lady in Towcester.

Earlier this year Northants County Council announced it would be ending the funding for crossing patrol assistants in order to help shave £73 million from this year’s budget.

Lisa Samiotis has two children, an eight-year-old who attends the Towcester CofE Primary in Islington Road, and a four-year-old who attends the Tiny Toes Nursery in Watling Street. Both of which are within a few hundred yards of the busy Vernon Road zebra crossing. The crossing is so busy a lollipop lady was deemed necessary before an after school time.

Mrs Samiotis said during a 25 minute period on Monday morning she recorded 194 cars passing the zebra crossing.

She added: “I got there early on Monday, I was with my son at the time and a car and a van went straight past without stopping, Just because there’s a zebra crossing there drivers don’t always stop.

“It is dangerous road, there’s bad visibility because of the cars parked on the side of the road, so drivers can’t see children waiting to cross or the children have to step out to look around the cars.”

This week it emerged that NCC had offered schools and parishes the chance to pay for the service themselves, if they can come up with nearly £4,000 a year.

Mrs Samiotis said she accepted cuts had to be made but Towcester Primary was not a wealthy school and that the fund raising committee were doing as much as they can already to provide the school with extra books and equipment.

Denise Dyer-Kubât is a mother to an eight-year-old at Towcester Primary and a 13-year-old at Sponne School who both use the crossing and said: “My worst fear is that my little boy is run over. Alright he’s got good road sense now, but toddlers have a habit of running off.”

Mrs Dyer-Kubât also said she had seen drivers ignoring children waiting to cross.

Rosemary Bromwich, NCC member for Towcester said the council had no statutory obligation to provide crossing assistants and while she could help fund a temporary stop gap, parents should take greater responsibility.

She added: “It just a question of do they want it for another year or so or do they want to start taking responsibility for getting their children to school?”