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Schoolchildren fight to save their lollipop man

Children and parents take part in a crossing protest against the loss of their lollipop man Credit: ITV West Country

School children and their parents held a pedestrianised protest in Bristol today to highlight proposed cuts in lollipop patrols.

They staged a continuous crossing of the busy A37 - the Wells Road - for half an hour. The protesters say the road is dangerously busy with the crossing unsafe for young children on their way to school.

Lollipop man Paul Whitmell mans the pedestrian crossing on the busy A37. Credit: ITV West Country

In Totterdown, Paul Whitmell is a local hero.

He's been manning the crossing near Hillcrest Primary School for more than 15 years.

I think it's important - I save lives. I stop children running into the road. It's not that I stop traffic that's the main part of the job or anything like that.

– Paul Whitmell, Lollipop Man
The young demonstrators have created their own protest signs. Credit: ITV News

For the children Paul helps safely cross the road, this morning wasn't a normal school run

Armed with parents and placards they came to his aid, protesting against the council's proposition to stop funding lollipop patrols where there's a crossing.

They chant "Save Paul, save Paul" as they take part in their crossing protest.

  • Watch the lollipop protest by Bristol schoolchildren

The children's parents believe their lives will be put at risk by the removal of the crossing patrol.

The red light is run on a regular basis, I'd say up to four or five times an hour, so we need Paul - it's a matter of life and death.

– Anna Boulter, Parent

The council plans to remove funding from half of Bristol's 80 school crossing patrols by 2019. It issued the following statement:

One parent had more reason than most to fear the loss of the lollipop man.

It's an A-road, on a hill, traffic's so quick. We unfortunately lost our five year old cousin on an unmanned crossing so for me and our family it's even more important.

– Protesting parent

The council is asking the community's opinion but one way or another it needs to save £150,000 from its school crossings budget.

Which patrols will survive the cuts will be decided at the end of the year.

Paul the lollipop man sees the children safely across - but for how long? Credit: ITV West Country