SCHOOL staff and parents fear for pupil safety as a lollipop lady retires after 26 years.

Jean Wilson, 65, started helping pupils from Ivy Chimneys Primary School in Epping cross the road while her son James was a pupil there in 1985.

She has finished her last patrol and is heading to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to live nearer James, now 34, and her three-month-old grandson.

“My son was at the school, so I thought I would do the job for three years,” she said. “I stayed because all the people are very nice and you get to know the children.

“I’ve got three lollipop sticks in my garden still. The bin men wouldn’t take them away.”

The Brook Road resident supervised families crossing Centre Drive, near the school, come rain, shine, or the heavy snow that hit the district last winter.

“It’s quite a nasty little bend for the children to cross,” she said. “They really need a crossing person there.”

But the school’s head-teacher, Denise Drew, said the county council, which employs crossing supervisors, may not fund a replacement for Mrs Wilson.

“We were told that they’re monitoring our situation, but they don’t feel at the moment that we meet the national criteria for one,” she added. “I need to investigate further what the criteria are.”

She said both Ivy Chimneys Road and Centre Drive were dangerous because of speeding and drivers using them as rat-runs.

“We recently completed a new travel plan and parents felt there was a need for a second crossing person in Ivy Chimneys Road,” she added.

“Jean’s been fabulous in her 26 years and we couldn’t think of more than half a dozen times when she hasn’t been there, whatever the weather. She’s going to be extremely missed.”

Next week, children from the school will use speed guns in Ivy Chimneys Road, along with staff from the council’s road safety team, in an attempt to reduce the problem.

Road safety fears have been added to by plans to demolish the Spotted Dog pub in Ivy Chimneys Road and build nine three-bedroom houses on the site.

District councillors postponed a decision on the plans that was due last night (Wednesday), to find a road safety project for developers Spotted Dog Ivy Chimneys Ltd to donate money to in return for the loss of the pub to the community.

Click here to follow the Epping Forest Guardian on Twitter