DEDICATED John Plumb has been named the Echo’s School Crossing Patrol of the Year.
Parents, pupils and teachers gathered at Fulwell Junior School on Friday to pay tribute to the 67-year-old – who was named top of the lollipops.
John, originally from Plymouth, beat stiff competition from school crossing patrols across Sunderland to be judged as the best of 2010.
He received his award, a commemorative glass bowl, along with £100-worth of High Street vouchers, at a special awards ceremony at the school, where he has been the crossing patrol for five years.
Now in its third year, the annual award organised by Sunderland City Council and the Echo, recognises the unsung heroes who brave all weathers to help ensure the city’s children have a safe trip to and from school.
Jubilant John said: “I am overwhelmed that people have taken the time out to nominate me for this award, it means so much to me.
“I take my job very seriously because I am helping children to cross the road safely in a very busy area.
“I love my job and speaking to the children and their families everyday is reward enough, but it makes it even more worthwhile to know that people appreciate what you do.”
He was singled out by competition judges - the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Thomas Martin, and Echo editor Rob Lawson - for his “friendly approach, dedication and pride in his work”.
Dozens of letters have been sent in to the Echo praising School Crossing Patrols across the city.
However, Coun Martin said the nominations for John made him stand out.
He said: “Judging who should win the award is a really tough task, but it was clear from the nominations made for John just how much he means to the children and families who he helps every day.
“John is a shining example of a School Crossing Patrol who has built up a tremendous rapport with school children and their families, while carrying out his duty in a professional manner every day. He is thoroughly deserving of this award.”
Children from Fulwell Junior School also presented John with a book of messages of thanks, while the school choir also sang a specially composed song.
Councillor James Blackburn, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Attractive and Inclusive City, said: “We are tremendously proud of John, as we are of all of our school crossing patrols across Sunderland, who carry out an extremely important and demanding role.
“Traffic conditions are increasingly busy and School Crossing Patrols are there to ensure that our children can cross roads safely.
“Their importance to Sunderland should never be underestimated.
“I congratulate John for the fantastic job he does, and for winning the award which he thoroughly deserves.”