Skyswood lollipop man backs school active travel campaign

Skyswood school lollipop man Mike Beeson.

Skyswood school lollipop man Mike Beeson. - Credit: Herts county council

A St Albans lollipop man has given a thumbs up to a huge walking, wheeling, scooting and cycling challenge for school children.

Sustrans’ Big Walk and Wheel runs from March 21 until April 1. On each day of the challenge, schools compete to see who can record the greatest number of pupil journeys. All schools will be entered into daily prize draws for rewards if 15 per cent of pupils take part on each day of the challenge.

Mike Beeson not only sees children safely to and from Skyswood Primary and Nursery School in St Albans, but he is a keen cyclist too, so when he’s not dashing across roads with his lollipop, he’s often seen pounding the pedals of his bike.

“I’ve always been a passionate cyclist and walker, so this job was the ideal choice for me. Twice a day I step out on my crossing, and this helps me to stay active. It’s a job I love and it really keeps me fit and well.

Sprightly 70-year-old Mike is backing the initiative: “I hope I can inspire the school pupils and their families to opt for active modes of travel like walking and cycling instead of taking the car. It keeps you fit for life and is great for the environment too, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Mike joined the crossing patrol team back in 2018 when he retired from being a self-employed draughtsman. A leaflet advertising for a patrol to work at his local primary school dropped through his door just before Christmas and his wife suggested that this would be an ideal part-time job for Mike to keep him active in his retirement.

Anthony Boucher, director of Highways Operations at Herts county council said: “We want to encourage everyone to get active like Mike, who is a real inspiration for our young people and their families. He sets a great example of the lifelong benefits of active travel.

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“There’s no better time than the present to start encouraging children on their daily walk, wheel, scoot or cycle to school. Our aim is to offer all residents a cleaner, greener, healthier Hertfordshire, which promotes more active travel, protects the environment and helps reduce traffic congestion.”

To find out more about the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel visit: www.bigwalkandwheel.org.uk