Petersgate Infant School lollipop lady retires after 40 years of ‘loyal’ service - but Hampshire County Council won't replace her
MEMBERS of a school community have thanked their lollipop lady for 40 years’ service – but fear they will be less safe as she is not being replaced.
Mavis Bailey will retire on Friday after working for 40 years as a crossing guard, helping children walk safely to and from school every day.
She has worked for 20 years at Petersgate Infant School and for 20 at Clanfield Junior School, and knows every child by name.
Mavis will not be replaced after half term as Hampshire County Council has ruled the school does not meet criteria for a new road crossing patrol person.
Mrs Bailey, who will be spending retirement enjoying more time with her husband, said: ‘I've enjoyed it here, the little ones are so talkative.
‘I'm looking forward to my retirement. I will miss the children but not the weather.’
Julie Cook, headteacher, said: ‘We're devastated to be losing Mrs Bailey. I've been here for eight and a half years and she's a pivotal part of the community.
‘She knows everybody, every child's name, and she will be very much missed.
‘She's going to spend time with her husband.
‘She's not had a day off, she's reliable and loyal. I don't know what we'll do without her.’
Pupil Arthur, five, said: ‘Mrs Bailey is the best lollipop lady in the world and I will miss her.’
Claudia Trapnell, Arthur's mum, said: ‘She has been a completely integral part of the community.
‘She makes it so comforting for children when they start at the school and makes their days a lot easier.
‘We are all going to miss her.’
There are now concerns about the safety of the school’s 270 pupils.
Mrs Cook said: ‘The council’s not replacing her and we’re really concerned about safety. They don’t think it's a priority.
‘Mrs Bailey’s had a number of close calls, and the crossroads make it really difficult.
‘To say they're not replacing her undermines what she's done.’
Parents have created a Facebook group to draw attention to the issue, and a petition may be launched.
Matt Illston, a parent governor, said: ‘It's disappointing for parents, the governing body needs to ensure children are safe.
‘We appreciate it's difficult with funding but we need to do what we can to protect the children. We've got to do something.’
Sara Elkins, a parent of a child at the school, said: ‘We are concerned for safety. It's just so dangerous. It's an accident waiting to happen.
‘I just can't fathom why the council doesn't see it.’
Councillor Rob Humby, deputy leader at the county council, said a new assessment found the school was ‘well below’ a criteria for a new crossing guard, ‘based on traffic flow and numbers of children crossing the road’.
He said: ‘We need to review sites when any changes take place to ensure that circumstances have not changed, particularly as traffic patterns and numbers of children in schools can change over time.
‘We are committed to helping everyone who uses the roads to do so safely.’