School crossing patrols celebrate 60 years
Brighton & Hove will celebrate 60 years of the school crossing patrol service when the mayor, councillor Denise Cobb, presents around 15 staff with a commemorative badge and certificate.
The event is part of national celebrations to mark the Diamond Jubilee year of school crossing patrols. Road Safety GB is providing the badges and certificates to school crossing patrol staff across the country.
Brighton & Hove has 20 patrols located at vulnerable spots across the city. They’ve been helping pedestrians, including children, on their way to and from school, to cross roads safely for 60 years.
They include Theresa Andrews who will have been doing the job for 26 years this September and is the city’s longest-serving school crossing patrol officer.
Theresa’s patrol is on Warren Road in Woodingdean, near a bus stop and close to one of the busiest crossroads in the city. She said: “I took the job as a short-term measure and here I am coming up to 26 years. I just love working with the children and we have a good rapport. A lot of them call me by my first name and we exchange presents at the end of term.
“Although there is more traffic now the job hasn’t changed and drivers still respect the school crossing patrol.”
Councillor Cobb, will present the city’s patrols with their badges and certificates in a ceremony to be held in the council chamber at Brighton Town Hall on Wednesday 28 August.
The school crossing patrol service was officially created by the School Crossing Patrol Act in 1953 and the first official patrol started work in 1954.
Councillor Ian Davey, lead member for transport in Brighton & Hove, said: “While the uniform and sign have changed to meet modern standards, and patrols can now stop traffic to cross any pedestrian, adult or child, the role is essentially the same today as it was 60 years ago.
“It is important we recognise their contribution to road safety and the work they do to make sure pupils get to and from school safely. The need for patrols will remain as long as children walk to school and cross busy roads and we look forward to another 60 years of the service.”
The idea for school crossing patrols came in the late 1940s when two of the newly created road safety officers in the London Boroughs of Dagenham and Barking (Jock Brining and Dorothy Pummell) recognised a growing problem with the safety of child pedestrians given the increasing volume of traffic.
At that time around 90% of children walked to school unaccompanied and also played out on the streets. Children were advised to ask an adult to see them across busy roads, but Jock Brining had the idea of ‘official’ adults to help children on their way to school at points where traffic was at its worst.
Jock and Dorothy persuaded their councils to agree to the idea and went on to employ ‘active retired gentlemen’ as ‘traffic wardens’, who wore white coats and peaked hats – as worn by park keepers at the time.
The idea proved very popular and soon spread to other London boroughs, and as more wardens were appointed the Met Police took over responsibility for the new service.
The school crossing patrol service was born when the government recognised the value of having a service that helped children cross roads at busy and difficult locations.
- Road Safety GB is a national road safety organisation that represents local government road safety teams across the UK. Road Safety GB supports road safety officers in fulfilling their statutory role, to reduce the number and severity of road accidents through education, training and publicity policies and programmes. For more information about Road Safety GB visit: www.roadsafetygb.org.uk
- Find out more about school crossing patrols in Brighton & Hove