Save Our Lollipop Patrols in Essex

It made front page news on the Echo back on March 18th. Plans by Essex County Council to start cutting back on lollipop people.

Rodney Bass, the highways boss said that, whilst no decisions had yet been made, the authority should no longer have to pay for a lollipop person where there was already a ‘perfectly satisfactoryt crossing’. According to the Echo report, Mr Bass suggested that volunteers, such as teachers, could run the patrols and parents could pay for them.

I’m on my crossing every day. After several years of playing chicken with the traffic, I now have a zebra crossing to help to keep both me and the children safe.

But it’s not just about helping children to cross the road.

It’s about shepherding and marshalling the stray three to six year olds who find their way out of the playground without their grown up.

It’s keeping an eye on who is going home with whom.

It’s watching out for bullying or children who are not their normal cheerful selves – which might signify a problem at home.

And it’s about looking out for strange people who are hanging around the crossing.

My job is to give children an adult that they can trust who is immediately available and not judgemental right outside the school gates.

I’m lucky – Southend Borough Council have not said they will be cutting back as yet. But my heart goes out to all the other lollipop people whose jobs are at risk.

If you would like to sign the petition against the cuts, you can go to

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Leigh North Street Junior School

After a couple of weeks of turmoil following a lacklustre Ofsted report that saw them placed on Special Measures, I am really pleased to share the excitement of North Street Junior School at winning the Southend Schools Swimming Gala this year.

Sometimes, a good education is not just about letters and numbers.

The children at the school are very well mannered, always saying thank you for being seen across the road. They are confident, but not in a bumptious way.

Most importantly, they all clearly love going to school.

I think that’s a really positive endorsement.

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Southend People’s Assembly Against Austerity

This leaflet about the Southend People’s Assembly Against Austerity was thrust into my hand by one of my regular dads whilst I was on the crossing.



This is the Southend branch of a national body called the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and it will take place

Tuesday 7 May 2013 – 7.30
Leigh Community Centre
Elm Road
Leigh on Sea

in preparation for the National People’s Assembly meeting in London on 22 June.

At a time when local people in Southend and Leigh on Sea are campaigning to save our libraries and to prevent other cuts to important services, we should ensure that our voices are heard.

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Cardiac Risk In The Young – Local Screening Opportunity

Cardiac Risk In the YoungCRY, the charity that helps promote awareness of Cardiac Risk In The Young are supported locally by Tony and Susie Baws, the parents of Gideon who died from cardiomyopathy at the age of 33 whilst on holiday in America.

Tony wrote a book called Fishing With Harry, which is a gentle comedy about his relationship with his father-in-law as they pursued their mutual passion for fishing in the lakes and waters of Essex. With the accolade of having topped the Amazon Bestseller list for fishing books, it is full of amusing anecdotes reminding us of the less frenetic way of life in the 1960s and a countryside that was full of opportunities to catch fresh water fish. The proceeds all go towards the work of CRY, who provide counselling and bereavement services as well as information and advice about the signs which may mean that you or a young person close to you could be at risk.

The recent media coverage of Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed during a televised football match and survived after his heart had stopped for over an hour has brought to light the fact that even extremely fit and healthy young men are not immune.

Fishing With HarryTony has a blog where you can find out more about how to buy the book and will also be speaking about Fishing With Harry and its sequel on Talksport Radio on Saturday 23rd February, from 7 am, speaking to Keith Arthur about the event and the sequel to FWH.

CRY are also working locally with to get young people into their clinics for crucial tests that could rule out any potentially fatal flaws in their hearts. In Leigh-on-Sea, this is being held on 9th March and young people aged between 18 and 35 are advised to visit the link above to book their place for a screening.

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