Wheathampstead lollipop lady returns to role after hunt for crossing patrol staff
PUBLISHED: 14:31 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:31 28 January 2020
A Wheathampstead primary school welcomed back one of its lollipop ladies after an urgent appeal for a replacement.
Two lollipop ladies recently moved on to new roles at St Helen's C of E Primary School, leaving the school's crossings unmanned and parents fearing for their children's safety walking to and from school.
Claire Dacre, the crossing patrol for The Hill in Wheathampstead, left her post to become a kitchen assistant within the school, but returned after missing her previous role.
Speaking after her first day back on the job, she said: "I am back home. I really missed the children and the parents.
"They say you do not know what you have until it is gone and I nearly shot myself in the foot. I was so happy to be back on the crossing this morning."
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After Claire and her colleague left, co-headteachers Kaye Healy and Katherine Taylor sent out an appeal saying they were "gravely concerned" about the safety of pupils crossing the road. Wheathampstead Cllr Annie Brewster and Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami have both backed a campaign calling for a zebra crossing to be installed outside the school.
Claire said: "It is a very dangerous road and many drivers do not like to be stopped and some tell me so. I strongly support the drive to get a zebra crossing here as I will be far more visible when I have to stop traffic. Also, it will be safer for the children if I am ever taken ill."
Claire has lived in the village for more than 35 years, and her family has long been involved with the school. Her partner Ken was a pupil, and his grandmother Mrs Latchford was head cook when the school was based in the Old Chapel on Brewhouse Hill. When the school moved across the road Ken's mother became assistant head cook.
Cllr Brewster said: "Claire was overwhelmed by the greeting she received this morning. It was truly deserved and we are all absolutely delighted she is back.
"However, we still need to secure a patrol for Brewhouse Hill. This episode has clearly highlighted how dangerous the two roads around the school are and illustrated how many children are now walking to school on their own."
Anyone interested in the role should call Janet Fairhead on 01992 556815 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.