THEY make crossing the road safer for hundreds of children every day and now lollipop men and women across the town have been told their jobs are safe too.

With the council axe looming over services in Swindon, the Adver has had calls and letters from readers asking whether Swindon’s 15 school crossing patrols are also at risk.

Peter Greenhalgh, cabinet member for transformation, strategic planning, sustainability and transport, has reassured schools and lollipop staff that there are no plans to make any changes.

“I am not proposing any cuts to the service. I think lollipop men and women perform a very valuable community service,” he said.

“Obviously we have to look very closely at budgets but as far as I am aware I certainly have no intention of making any changes to the service.”

John Walter, 49, has been the lollipop man for King William Street Primary School for nine years.

“I have seen some near misses. If there was no a lollipop man or woman here there would have been an accident or two and somebody would have been killed eventually,” he said.

“We are important for children and parents’ safety. It stops them from getting run over, killed or seriously injured. I see myself as important – but not too important if you know what I mean.”

As well as helping children and parents form King William Street Primary School, John also helps pupils from Lethbridge Primary School and Commonweal School.

“I always say hello or good afternoon or good morning, whichever the case may be. There is always somebody who needs you,” he said.

“I love it, I know it is the same faces and the same people but it gives me a sense of achievement. I know that at the end of the day I have seen children and the parents cross the road safely and I know then that they are going to get home safely enough.”

Mario Walsh, a PE teacher at King William Street School, said: “The kids absolutely adore John. He does a fantastic job. It’s lovely what he does, the children look up to that.”

On Thursday, Joan Brooks, who lives near Robert Le Kyng Primary School, phoned the Adver to say there had been several near misses outside the school while the lollipop man, Gary Carnell, was on leave at the end of last week.

A council spokesman said relief staff are not available while lollipop staff are on leave. The council currently has vacancies for lollipop men and women.

For more information contact the council on 01793 445 500.