Sheffield lollipop man Eddy, 74, ready for final patrol
With a smile on his face, whatever the weather, Sheffield school crossing patrolman Eddy Parton is a local legend.
The 74-year-old has never missed a day on the crossing outside Lydgate Infants School, Crosspool, but April 1 will be his last as he finally retires after 11 years service.
Father-of-two Eddy, of Crookes, is a popular figure and has greeted thousands of parents and children on Lydgate Lane, come rain, shine or snow.
"It’s the best job in the world,” says Eddy, a former butcher. “It is just so rewarding. It can be throwing it down with rain, but when a five-year-old says ‘Good morning, Eddy’ you feel great.
"I can understand why people don’t want to do the job because of the weather and the times, but I like being out in the morning and the afternoon – it breaks up the day. It means I’m not always watching Tv or going to the pub!”
Eddy had a near miss when a sports car driver brushed under his arm as he prepared to let a group of children cross. “The driver stopped, so I walked up and said ‘Didn’t you see me? You drove under my arm.’ I must have had a lucky charm that day.
"I will miss the job and the people, but it will be nice to have a lie in.”
His boss school crossing patrol supervisor Shirley Adams said: “Eddy will be greatly missed. He’s a huge asset to the school patrol team and has never had a day off. Come rain or shine, he always has a smile.”
Lydgate Infants School headteacher Dewi Bromage added: “Eddy is fantastic. We are a very large infant school, with lots of little ones and parents with buggies, so what he does is really important. He’s careful, re-assuring and does it all with a really pleasant, engaging and fun attitude.
"He takes his job seriously but there’s always a smile and he’s always there. We’ll miss him enormously.”
Mum-of-two Rebecca Fielding says her children and many others have all benefitted from Eddy’s safe crossings.
"There’s not a child in Crosspool who he doesn’t say ‘Good morning’ to. He’s always there to help children across the road and he’s always got a smile. If you’re having a bad day, he makes a real difference.”