HE’S a former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth but Jason Fazackarley has got a new role – as the city’s newest lollipop person.
For the last three weeks the Lib Dem transport boss has swapped his council robes for a reflective jacket after being contacted by parents, children, teachers and governors at Newbridge Junior School, in New Road, Copnor.
For many months they petitioned to have a new lollipop person outside their school, but because of a shortage Portsmouth City Council wasn’t able to provide one.
Even when one was eventually found, the requirement for a criminal records check meant it could still take up to three months before he could take up the position.
So Cllr Fazackarley decided to pick up a lollipop stick and do the job himself.
‘They had a particular problem at that school,’ he said.
‘We were contacted by children, parents and the school, but the police also raised concerns about near misses.
‘It was getting to the point where a child could have been seriously injured.
‘And although we had managed to get someone, they couldn’t start straight away because of CRB checks.
‘All councillors are checked as standard, so I thought, I’ll take it on.’
He added that three weeks ago a police officer called him up to report two near misses at the crossing outside the school and insist that urgent action was necessary to prevent an accident.
‘I am not being paid for it in case anyone believes that I have appointed myself a paid post,’ he said.
‘Neither is it in the ward that I represent so I am not doing it to win votes.
‘It has certainly given me the chance to observe some very poor driving. On a couple of occasions I’ve had to step back to get out of the way.’
The council is still looking to recruit extra lollipop people – anyone interested can call Sue McDermott (023) 92841 155.