HE was a ray of sunshine who kept scores of children safe every day.
So, in a fitting tribute, a memorial to Ray Elsmore will be a sundial at the school he worked for as a lollipop man for 11 years.
Relatives of his joined parents and employees from Southern Electric yesterday to roll up their sleeves and spruce up a garden at Queen’s Inclosure School, in Cornelius Drive, Waterlooville.
The centrepiece of the garden will be a sundial propped up by the figure of a lollipop man. The intricate piece is being made by former Royal Navy sailor John Gunning, from Petersfield.
Ray’s daughter Yasmin Clarke and granddaughter Sonia Watt helped to prepare the ground for the sundial yesterday.
Both have had to come to terms with Ray’s tragic death last December.
While on an afternoon shift, the 82-year-old, of Florentine Way, Waterlooville, was involved in a collision with a car in Tempest Avenue.
He suffered serious head injuries and died shortly later in hospital.
Yasmin, 58, of Portsmouth Road, Horndean, said: ‘This is something that will help them remember dad in a good way. It’s a nice tribute for him.
‘It’s very fitting because he loved his garden.
‘He would have loved this. He would have been very proud that they chose to remember him in this way with a garden.
‘It’s fitting because he was a ray of sunshine.’
Sonia, 39, of Mill Road, Waterlooville, said: ‘We wanted to help out.
‘The PTA got in touch and said they were going to be doing this and we offered our services.
‘The sundial is a fantastic idea. We saw some pictures of it and it looks amazing. I think this proves what a fantastic community there is in this area.’
Chainsaws, diggers, spades, and trimmers were all put to good use yesterday by the tireless team from Southern Electric, who work at Walton Park in Farlington.
The garden, which is used as a quiet area for pupils, features a gazebo and volunteers helped to give this a makeover by laying artificial grass.
A Loch Ness monster creation was also made out of tyres.
Marie Potter, who is secretary of the PTA and also works for Southern Electric, helped to organise the makeover.
The 34-year-old said: ‘Ray was an inspiration to the kids. He really looked after the children.’
Sam Flint, also on the PTA, said: ‘I have got three children and two have left.
‘When they wanted to walk to school on their own, I had absolutely no worries because I knew Ray would be there.’
It is hoped the garden will be finished before the summer holidays.
Sam added: ‘The plan is to fence it off as we have a resident deer that eats everything, so you can’t plant anything.
‘We would like a vegetable garden in here.’