A school community stood in silence before breaking into spontaneous applause today in tribute to a popular lollipop man affectionately regarded as part of the fabric of the Walthamstow road he patrolled for 25 years.

Alec Cooper died on Wednesday, June 24 at the age of 85. Prior to his funeral service, the cortege passed along Shernhall Street where pupils and staff from Our Lady and St George’s Catholic Primary School, neighbouring Holy Family Secondary School and members of the public lined the road to pay their respects.

Mr Cooper served the primary school and its predecessor in Shernhall Street, St Mary’s Catholic Junior School, for 25 years and headteacher Rosie McGlynn paid tribute to “truly a gentleman in every sense of the word”.

Remembering a man who also dressed up as Santa Claus for the younger children and delivered road safety talks, she said: “His work ethic, dedication and commitment to his work and to our school was exemplary and his optimism was infectious. He will be sorely missed by our school community.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Waltham Forest Council’s director of highways and traffic management Vala Valavan sent his condolences to Mr Cooper’s family after his death.

He wrote: “Alec was passionate about road safety and was always on his crossing come rain or shine, he was always willing to go the extra mile to ensure not only his school community were safe but also the surrounding school communities, residents and visitors to the area.

“During Alec’s many years of service, he distinguished himself amongst his co-workers with his pleasant, enthusiastic manner and high-quality standard with which he carried out his duties – Shernhall Street will not be the same without him.

“He played an important role in the local community, and his devotion and commitment to putting his work and the school community before himself was not unnoticed and he will be truly missed.”

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Born on February 20, 1935, Alec Frederick Cooper grew up in Hervey Park Road, Walthamstow, with younger siblings Colin and Sylvia and later lived in Lea Bridge Road.

Mr Cooper’s attended William Elliott Whittingham School in Higham Hill Road, and he took up his school crossing patrol job after being made redundant from a water company.

Regarded as a kind, friendly and generous man, he was a fan of TV soaps including Coronation Street and Eastenders and enjoyed socialising with friends at the Hare & Hound and Lord Raglan pubs.

He is survived by sister Sylvia, her husband David, their son John, wife Zoe and nieces Phoebe and Dayna.