Broadcaster Louis Theroux backs campaign against plans to axe lollipop lady at Harlesden school
PUBLISHED: 10:26 10 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:41 10 February 2015
Parents at Leopold School have handed over a petition with more than 250 signatures against plans to axe their lollipop lady.
An online petition slamming Brent Council’s proposal to scrap all 34 of the borough’s crossing patrol wardens has also collected more than 350 signatures.
The move is part of a package of £54 million proposed cuts to council services due to be rubber-stamped on March 4.
A statement by the Harlesden School’s PTFA voiced safety concerns if school patrol officer Geraldine Fewer no longer helps pupils across Hawkshead Road.
“We believe this is unacceptable and will directly put our children in danger of a road traffic accident.
Leopold Primary School has a very particular setting within Harlesden. The school has busy roads on all four sides of it and the school patrol officer has to overlook two of them.
Most families walk to school and the traffic has heavily increased over the years. There is a huge absence of safe crossings near the school - the closest zebra crossing is as far away Longstone Avenue and the bottom of Drayton Road.
If our school patrol officer is removed and there is an accident, Brent council will be responsible for it.”
Broadcaster Louis Theroux, who signed the petition, said: “Geraldine provides a crucial service, making sure our children get to school safely. “She is hard-working and good humoured, and she is extremely valued by all of us who are part of the Leopold Primary School family.
“It would be a terrible thing for us as a community to lose Geraldine and we urge Brent to rethink the plan that involves her losing her job.”
Maggie Szegedi-Fitzgibbon, a PTFA member and the mother-of-two daughters at the school, said: “Geraldine has been a very very important part of our community, helping to keep our children safe. The roads around Leopold School can be extremely busy in the mornings and evenings and having her there, keeping an eye on our children, is very reassuring”.
Claudia Elmhirst, another PTFA member, added: “ I have witnessed on a number of occasions Geraldine literally saving a child’s life by getting between them and a car when they cross without looking. I dread to think what may happen without her there.”
And Kelley Ralph who has two sons at the school added: “Geraldine is our guardian angel who keeps our children safe. Without her constant presence guarding our children safety I dread to think what would happen.”
A Brent Council spokesman said a final decision had not yet been made about funding for crossing patrols and the council was undertaking a public consultation over the planned cuts to council services.
He added that severe reductions to government funding from central government meant they were “going to have to work differently and in some cases stop providing services altogether.”