PARENTS and children at a Wearside school are celebrating a safer new year after a lollipop lady was finally appointed.
Since June last year, there has been no crossing patrol in Silksworth Road, outside East Herrington Primary School, which was labelled “one of the most dangerous roads in the city”.
The previous incumbent in the role retired, meaning that youngsters wanting to walk to school themselves had to cross the busy B1286 road unaided.
St Chad’s ward councillors, Alan Wright and Stuart Porthouse, who serve the area, immediately began to try and get someone else to sign up for the role.
They cited a sharp bend next to the school as one of the major hazards.
Now, after months without a patrol, Sunderland City Council have been able to appoint one.
Mum Vicky Gamblin, whose nine-year-old son Lucas goes to East Herrington Primary, said the crossing patrol is the end of months of worry.
Vicky, 38, of East Herrington, said: “It’s brilliant that we have got somebody, but it’s been a long time coming.
“Stuart and Alan have raised the issue and not let it drop.
“It’s great because my son came in saying how he can walk to school by himself now.”
Councillors Wright and Porthouse said they were pleased at the appointment but disappointment by how long it had taken.
“There’s a weakness in the system when we go from June to January with people not even being interviewed for the role,” said Coun Wright.
Coun Porthouse said: “We are not happy with the amount of time it has taken, but we don’t want to be critical of the council.
“It’s the council, the school and the community who are the three organisations who have got to pull together to sort this problem.”
The council cited a nationwide shortage of school crossing patrols at the main barrier to recruiting one for East Herrington Primary.
Coun James Blackburn, the portfolio holder for inclusive city at the council, said: “We are delighted to confirm that a new school crossing patrol has now been appointed at East Herrington Primary School and at two other school sites in the city.
“We will continue working hard to find suitable candidates to provide this important service at other schools in Sunderland.
“We would urge anyone interested in taking up a crossing patrol post to contact us on 561 1525.”
Parents are also being urged to use the lollipop lady rather than cross the road on the bend, which is nearer to the school entrance.