Crossing patrol officer retires after nearly 25 years at a St Neots school

16:00 27 July 2014

Lollipop lady Sarah Porteus, with ex-pupil Phil Jarratt, and his son Finley.

Lollipop lady Sarah Porteus, with ex-pupil Phil Jarratt, and his son Finley.

Archant

It was the terrifying experience of being knocked off her bike with her toddler on the back which inspired a crossing patrol officer to devote almost 25 years of service to a St Neots school.

Sarah Porteus, 62, of Wilkinson Close, Eaton Socon, was hit by a car when her son Ed – who is now 28 – was just three years old.

The accident happened as she was cycling along Great North Road by Crosshall Junior School on the way to his play group. While her son was unharmed in the accident, she suffered a fractured cheekbone.

“It was a bit of a shock and then painful,” she said. “There wasn’t a crossing patrol at the time – there was no crossing either.”

Mrs Porteus said that soon after, a pedestrian crossing was built and a patrol officer employed to help children on their way to and from school.

It was when her son started school that the position became available, she took over the role.

Now, Mrs Porteus is retiring from the crossing patrol but will still be a familiar face around the area – she’s taken up a job as a kitchen assistant at the junior school for two days per week.

“I just love doing it, I love the children and love meeting the parents – it’s good to chat to them all,” she told The Hunts Post. “I find now that I’m crossing children’s children.”

Mrs Porteus, who has another son, Tom, 34, said that she has also worked as a dinner lady, and has been on stand-by for the junior school kitchen if any members of staff are absent.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said that Mrs Porteus would not be replaced as she is based at a zebra crossing and both are not necessary.

He explained that while other authorities have made crossing patrol officers redundant in similar circumstance, CCC has waited until a person retires or leaves to remove the patrol.

Mrs Porteus said that her role was still relevant as some drivers do not stop and, recently, a driver nearly hit her and a child.

She said: “It’s horrendous – it’s just an accident waiting to happen. I was there at the time, so what will happen when I’m not?”

Mrs Porteus will carry out her last patrol today (Wednesday), and she will be presented with a gift from the children at Crosshall Junior School.

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