FOR THE first time in twenty years, children will return to a Greenfield school this month without a lollipop lady.
Mrs Shaw turned the position down because of personal commitments and the fact she does not drive.
And the heartbroken mother of two is ‘completely gutted’ over losing her job at Greenfield primary school, Shaw Street.
She said: “The last day at the crossing in Chew Valley Road was awful saying goodbye to all the parents and children.
“I was deeply upset and just couldn’t stop crying. I really loved my work. I have watched children grow up and become parents themselves.
“I have been proud to look after them all,” she added. “I really will miss them.”
Her husband, Tony, a lorry driver, said: “Lesley was deeply upset. Now she has gone, I think Chew Valley Road is an accident waiting to happen.”
And concerned villagers agree saying the number of vehicles on the road had increased significantly in recent years – along with the speed.
Jill Stanford, mother of two, who has run a tiny greengrocers shop village for 27 years, volunteered to pay one hour a week towards keeping Mrs Shaw on when Oldham council first announced they could no longer fund the school crossing patrol.
Her initiative snowballed with locals and businesses promising support. “We have pledges of more than half the cost of funding the job for a year,” she said. “But that is still short of the figure needed to keep Lesley working.”
Mike Rooke, secretary of the Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents Association, said: “The key players are the school themselves.
“Without will and momentum being generated from the school it’s difficult to inspire a community.
“GGRA has voted unanimously in support of the principal to keep our crossing patrol wardens.
“However, until more monies are raised from the community our members are unwilling to commit GGRA funds to such an initiative.
“But we would be willing to commit some funds – or even make up the shortfall – if more financial support was forthcoming from other sponsors and the community.
“We’ve offered to get round a table with people to plan a campaign.”
Royce Franlkin, chair of Saddleworth and Lees Traffic and Transport sub-committee, said: “Collectively, schools have a surplus of several million pounds in their budgets.
“The Local Authority has had to suffer cuts over the recent past at an unprecedented level. They have to balance the books and they have no statutory duty to fund school crossing patrols.
“It falls on schools and parents to ensure children get to and from school safely.
“I find it re-assuring seven schools, not previously with a school crossing patrol, have decided to fund their own.”
Cllr Dave Hibbert, Cabinet member for Housing, Transport and Planning, said the council’s door ‘remains firmly open’ if school not funding a school crossing patrol this term wish to reconsider.
“We will continue to work with them to monitor the potential impact,” he said. “If a concerned parent thinks their school needs a crossing patrol and wishes to challenge that decision then they should contact the headteacher direct.”
Greenfield’s school crossing issue will be raised at a special public road safety meeting, chaired by local MP Debbie Abrahams, with advice from GMP, OMBC highways officers and councillors on Friday, April 12, at The Satellite Centre, Wellington Road, Greenfield at 1p.m.
All are welcome. Refreshments will be provided and there is disabled access.