A BELOVED lollipop man of 15 years gave an emotional farewell following his final shift at an Earley primary school.

John Pink guided the children of Earley St Peter's along the crossing for the last time on Friday (July 21) after the council decided to terminate the service.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) revealed controversial plans to cut crossing patrol services from several schools in Woodley and Earley in March.

Despite the cries of parents and Hester Wooller, the head teacher of Earley St Peter's, and the outgoing crossing warden, plans were approved following a consultation.

Mr Pink previously slammed the council for their 'disgraceful' cost-cutting measures, with parents and staff coming together to thank him for his dedicated service.

Nicolette Evans, a parent of two children, organised a leaving collection and presentation for him on his last day.

She said: "We are very sorry to see John leave, despite the school and parents' best efforts to highlight to the council how heavy the traffic is on this road during school runs and how much busier it has become.

Reading Chronicle:

"We wanted to give John a rousing send-off, so it was great to see so many parents and staff came along to say goodbye and wish him well.

"We want to thank John for all his hard work over the years keeping our children safe crossing this road.

"We will miss his cheery welcome in the morning and quick chats about the weather or what he thought about the weekend’s football results. He definitely brightened up our school runs."

Parents presented Mr Pink with a special 'STOP' cake, a personalised plaque and vouchers for Reading FC and a tour of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

Mrs Wooller also attended the ceremony to thank him for his loyal service and presented a handmade card from the nursery children.

Councillor Christopher Bowring, Executive member for Highways and Transport, added: “We do understand how upsetting it can be to lose a popular member of a school community, but we haven’t made these changes lightly.

"We’ve withdrawn school crossing patrollers at sites where there are already formal crossings, such as zebras and those with traffic signal controls, because they are proven, efficient and safe ways to cross a road.

"This is part of our continued review of our non-statutory services across the whole council."