COUNCIL chiefs are giving lollipop patrols a stay of execution.

Dorset County Council is to give communities extra time to explore how the roles might be covered in the future.

It was originally proposed to stop funding for 10 of the patrols in the summer with the remaining 55 scrapped by the end of the year.

But the consultation period for all school crossing patrol sites has now been extended to March 2012.

The council says this is to give town and parish councils, schools and other community groups more time to co-ordinate funding or a put a volunteer service in place.

Parents believe the move is in response to a campaign they have started to save the patrols from the axe and see it as merely a token gesture.

Helen Toft of Weymouth said it was ‘pointless’ to extend the consultation period.

The concerned mum, who has launched a campaign to save the lollipop people by setting up an internet site and distributing petitions, said: “To me it sounds like a reaction to what has been written in the press.

“The county council is still saying this is someone else’s responsibility. It’s consulting on something we know we can’t afford to pay for.”

Mrs Toft said more than 2,000 people have visited her campaigning blog page in a week.

She has contacted South Dorset MP Richard Drax to thank him for the support after he asked Dorset County Council to reverse its decision on school crossing patrols, as reported in the Echo yesterday.

A veteran lollipop lady is also backing the campaign to keep the patrols in place.

Monica Cundy, 73, of Wyke Regis, Weymouth, said it was ‘terrible’ the patrols could be scrapped.

Great-grandmother Mrs Cundy was the crossing patrol in Wyke Road for 13 years, and for the last 12 years has been a relief patrol filling in at different locations when people are sick.

She was motivated to become a lollipop lady after witnessing a girl being knocked over in Plymouth in the 1950s.

“It was a long time ago and the girl wasn’t killed but it’s something I’ll never forget,” said Mrs Cundy, who is due to retire next year. “I love my job. The great thing about the job is all the wonderful people I meet.

“Sometimes I’m a shoulder to cry on and I have to do a bit of counselling. It’s terrible that the patrols could be stopped.

“We do need patrols in certain areas where it’s very busy.”