Memorial plaque celebrating ‘special’ lollipop man who ‘knew everyone’s names’ unveiled in Southsea by Wimborne Primary School children

A PERMANENT memorial to a much-loved lollipop remembered as ‘an old school gent’ and a ‘special’ figure in the community has been unveiled by school children in Southsea.

Tom James, who passed away on February 17 following a stroke, worked at Wimborne Primary School for nearly 18 years.

Today, a commemorative plaque was unveiled on the corner of Winter Road and Wimborne Road.

Carina Jacobs, headteacher, said: ‘We just wanted to do something to remember Tom by.

Applause for Tom James. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 270622-24)

‘He was a special man in our school community and our local community, so we wanted to get him a plaque.

‘We have had contributions from parents, shops, and a local company, Somerville Stone, who made the plaque for free.’

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Kevin and Paula James, Tom’s son and daughter-in-law, attended the unveiling.

Children from Wimborne Primary School. From left: Charlie Morgan (11), Elsa Roberts (11), Anna Montazeralaih (11), Chandler Killick (10), Lily Bovill (11), and Josh Clements (11), at the unveiling of a plaque in memory of their beloved lollipop man, Tom James, on the corner of Wimborne Road and Winter Road, Southsea. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 270622-)

Kevin said that the memorial is a ‘lovely’ tribute to his dad, while Paula added: ‘Everyone that comes along here will have a permanent memorial to the much-missed lollipop man’.

Elsa Roberts, an 11-year-old pupil at the school, said: ‘He was a really nice man and would always make conversation when we walked past him.

‘He was an important part of the community.’

Tony Ford, practice manager at Libero Counselling and Personal Development, gave permission for the plaque to be put up on the wall outside his service.

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More than 100 people gathered at the same spot back in March to pay their respects to Tom as his funeral procession passed by.

A fundraiser was also launched for the RSPCA, as Tom loved animals - and in particular dogs.

At the plaque unveiling today, Tony said: ‘I have had this place for about 12 years, and I used to chat with Tom regularly.

‘I remember Tom as a constant figure for the children and an old school gent.

The memorial plaque. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 270622-23)

‘He was always helpful, a lovely, nice guy.

‘He made a real point of knowing your name.’

The plaque features a drawing of Tom by 11-year-old school pupil Anna Montazeralaih.

She said: ‘When the teacher first called me to talk about the drawing, I didn’t know they were going to do a plaque.

‘I’m actually quite proud of the drawing.’

Tom had one son and three granddaughters: Phoebe, Lily, and Eva.

Carina added: ‘He’ll always be remembered.

‘Our new lollipop man has big shoes to fill.’