Put yourself forward and help to keep children safe

COMMENT: People need to have viable alternative to driving

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You know that old adage about only missing something when it’s no longer there?

That’s certainly true of the lollipop men and women of this city who traditionally brave all weathers to make sure children and their parents can cross the road safely to get to and from school each day.

Their fluorescent coats and STOP signs on poles are a familiar part of the scenery as they repeatedly step into the road and bring traffic to a halt while pedestrians cross.

But maybe we’re all guilty of taking them for granted. Because when they’re no longer there, we soon notice.

Earlier this week we reported how almost a third of crossing patrols in the city are vacant – and some have been that way for more than a year.

Now we’ve launched a campaign in conjunction with Portsmouth City Council to recruit more lollipop people to fill those 22 posts as quickly as possible.

People have spoken of their concern that so many parts of the city are not covered by a patrol at the moment, potentially putting people in danger as they run the gauntlet of busy traffic.

We share their fears, which is why we urge all those who think they would be suitable to come forward. Okay, it may not pay a king’s ransom (it’s £7.33-£8.01 per hour for 10 hours a week). But think of the huge job satisfaction from knowing you’re performing a valuable public service.

Today we feature great-grandmother Chrissy Morrison, whose patrol is in Buckland.

She explains very well how it’s more than just a job to her.

The children and parents are almost part of Chrissy’s extended family.

To her, their appreciation for the job she does must be priceless.

‘She’s amazing,’ says Scarlett Mitchell, who walks her three children to school and relies on Chrissy to keep them safe.

We badly need more Chrissies. So if you think you could fill one of the posts, please call Sue McDermott at the council on (023) 9284 1155.

By putting yourself forward, you could make a real difference.