Lollipop staff spared the chop in latest cuts

Andrea Wright and her children Alex and Ellie with Councillors Anderson and Murphy and Dorothy Hawthorn
Andrea Wright and her children Alex and Ellie with Councillors Anderson and Murphy and Dorothy Hawthorn

ONE of Wigan’s longest-serving lollipop ladies has welcomed news that her job and that of crossing patrol colleagues are safe.

For almost 40 years, come rain or shine, Dorothy Hawthorn has been helping children cross the road safely.

As a Labour-controlled authority we have protected school crossing patrols as a service that we need to retain for the safety of our children

Coun Kevin Anderson

The 73-year-old has been a school crossing patrol officer since 1976, having followed in the footsteps of her late father John Tomlinson.

She currently helps children cross the road safely to and from Westfield Community School in Pemberton where the youngsters affectionately call her Dot. Dorothy is one of 119 school crossing patrols who discovered this week that Wigan Council has decided that its budget for 2015-16 will protect their jobs as part of The Deal.

This is despite other local authorities cutting patrols and Wigan Council having to make £12m savings for the coming financial year.

Coun Kevin Anderson who has responsibility for school crossing patrols as part of his portfolio for Environment, said: “As a Labour-controlled authority we have protected school crossing patrols as a service that we need to retain for the safety of our children.

“Combined with the rolling out of 20mph restrictions across the borough we are showing that keeping our children safe is a top priority.

“As part of The Deal we have asked residents to play their part by recycling more, getting involved in their community and accessing services online. This means we can do our part to support families by freezing council tax and maintaining frontline services, such as school crossing patrols.

“Dorothy is a shining example of our committed school crossing patrol workforce and has excellent relations with the community.”

Counc Anderson and local ward councillor Sam Murphy joined Dorothy on her patrol.

Coun Murphy said: “It’s great news for local families that we have retained our school crossing patrols. Families can feel confident that their children are getting safely to school.”

Grandmother-of-three Dorothy, who has lived in Newtown most of her life, first considered doing the job when she saw her father at work as she pushed her young children in their prams. She said: “I used to say I could do that job. Never thinking for a moment that I would end up doing it for so long! “I really enjoy it. The weather can sometimes be not very nice but that’s something you put up with. I have made so many friends.”

Mum Andrea Wright and her children Alex, two, and Ellie Abram, 11, are one of the many families Dorothy helps across the road. Ellie, who attends Westfield Community School, said: “She’s made friends with lots of people. She’s always got something nice to say.”