Beloved 75-year-old Colne school crossing patroller hangs up his lollipop

Keith at his farewell assembly.
Keith at his farewell assembly.
Share this article

A much-loved 75-year-old school crossing patrol officer in Colne is hanging up his lollipop having spent a decade in the job despite originally taking the role on a temporary basis after the previous patroller was run over.

Keen to give Keith Armitage - whose final day was on March 2nd - a good send off, the children at Christ Church CoE Primary School on Bent Lane in Colne thanked him, presented him with gifts, and sang for him at a special farewell assembly.

Always a friendly face, the children also worked out that Keith had been in to work almost 4,000 times at the school despite having first taken the job temporarily after the previous patrol officer was hit by a car on Keighley Road.

"He's an unsung hero," said the school's Headteacher, Andrew Peers. "He's been loved by all the children; there were quite a few who were upset when we told them that Keith was leaving and not coming back, but they gave him a good send off.

"We're in an old Victorian building which was never meant to house the number of children it's got, so we encourage parents to park on Ball Grove car park," Andrew added. "Getting children to cross the road is a nightmare, so he's crucial."

Having ferried hundreds of children safely across the busy road during his 10 years in the job, Keith - who will be replaced by Lucy Worrell, a parent of one of the school's pupils - became famous for stashing hot water bottles in his pockets to keep his hands warm in the rain and cold.

"He's been out in all weathers," said Andrew. "And in the age of cut-backs - for a school on a main road like us - we can't afford to lose people like Keith, so I was delighted when Lancashire County Council decided they would maintain his position."