A campaign started by a safety-conscious schoolboy four years ago has finally paid off after a lollipop lady was found for a primary school.
Steven Day was 10 years old when he launched an appeal for a lollipop lady to help pupils cross the road outside Malcolm Sargent Primary School.
At the time, no-one came forward to answer the call. But this term pupils were greeted by the friendly face and hi-vis jacket of Joy Hutchinson on their walk to school.
On Wednesday Steven, now 14 and a pupil at Stamford School, came back to his old school to speak to the Mercury. He said: “As I’ve moved up through my school years I have realised how dangerous the road really is. It’s getting worse rather than better.
“But now we are finally moving in the right direction. I do think it’s good that the council were still looking at the problem and eventually did do something about it.
“It might not seem like a massive scheme but it’s important to a main town in the area.”
Although there is a 20mph zone outside the school in Empingham Road, it is close to the A1 slip roads and a 60mph zone towards Oakham. As a result, said Steven, cars were still driving too fast outside the school. But since Joy has started work, traffic has started slowing down.
“We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from children and parents,” said the school’s vice-principal Tim Cox.
“A lot of children come from the other side of the road. The road is notorious. Cars can speed along the road and there have been some near misses.”
The school set up a walking bus three years ago, which sets off from the Danish Invader on the opposite side of Empingham Road. The bus was part of the school’s travel plan, which also included a lollipop lady.
The scheme will become increasingly important once work starts on the Exeter Down development directly opposite the school. Outline planning permission for 400 homes on the site has already been approved.
Mr Cox thanked Steven for starting the campaign and Lincolnshire county councillor David Brailsford (Con) for backing it from the start.
And while Steven’s campaign has now paid off, the appeal for drivers to slow down outside the school shows no sign of letting up. His younger brother James, nine, is also at the school and has his own safety concerns.
He said: “We could try to get rumble strips of speed bumps.”