A MUM is launching a campaign to save Dorset’s lollipop men and women.

Helen Toft of Weymouth says she hopes to persuade Dorset County Council to reverse its decision to axe funding for school crossing patrols.

It is understood a final decision will be made at a meeting in February.

As reported in the Dorset Echo, the county council has agreed to cut 65 crossing patrol sites by December to make £200,000-worth of savings.

The first sites on the list to go by July include Quibo Lane in Weymouth, Wool, Bere Regis and Winterbourne Abbas.

Concerns have been raised that the lives of schoolchildren will be put at risk.

Mrs Toft is a parent governor at Holy Trinity Primary School and organiser of a ‘walking bus’ scheme.

She stressed she would be directing the campaign as a parent, as governors cannot get involved in such issues.

A ‘save our lollipop people’ blog page has been created with facts, figures, news and a downloadable petition form and poster.

Mrs Toft said that taking the walking bus to school on a dismal day last week made her realise that a child wearing normal clothing would not be seen and without the patrol there would be ‘dead children on our roads’.

Mrs Toft said: “The council’s suggestion is that somehow schools and local communities will take up responsibility either by providing funding or people will volunteer to put their life in danger to provide this service.

“We all know that this is a nonsense, but once the deed is done county can point to us and say we had the chance to continue the service and failed.”

She added: “Without crossing patrols in place people will revert to taking their children to school in cars as the only means to guarantee their safe arrival. This is hardly encouraging sustainable travel.”

Among the people lending support to the campaign is Weymouth and Portland borough councillor Brendan Webster who said: “School crossing patrols are, from what I can tell, a cheap and quick fix to a road safety risk for schoolchildren and their families.

“Until the basic road safety problem is solved it is important to keep the patrols. These patrols have legal status yet motorists frequently abuse the staff. Rather than undermining them by relying on volunteers, we should be increasing their status.”

For more details about the campaign visit the blogspot at www.save-lollipop-people.blogspot. com