Fri, 16 Dec 2016
John Rankin Junior School’s lollipop man Rodney Bracey thought he’d said his last goodbyes after being made redundant in June.
The district council cut funding to eight school crossing patrols as part of its wider plan to save £17.5m and, with no alternative funding currently in place, the 70-year-old lost his job.
But ironically, it was a West Berkshire councillor – Adrian Edwards – who helped get Mr Bracey his job back by donating £1,160 of his own money.
Mr Bracey previously told the Newbury Weekly News: “This job gives me a reason to get up in the morning and it will be sad saying my last goodbyes.”
However, on Monday he was back patrolling the roads outside the school.
Mr Bracey, who lives in Crookham Common, previously worked as a head groundsman at a number of West Berkshire schools, but was forced into early retirement after suffering a serious motorcycle crash after which he had to learn how to walk again.
After learning of his impending redundancy, parent Yvonne Soulby, whose two children, Jess and Aiden, attend the school, spearheaded a campaign to save him.
Mr Bracey said : “I am delighted to be back. The mothers are pleased to see me, but above all, the kids are happy that I’m back.
“I can’t thank everyone enough. I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen, but here I am.”
Mr Edwards said: “My children went to John Rankin and I was governor there for 25 years, so I just wanted to help in some way.
“Anyone who has children at the school knows how dangerous the roads are. Having Rodney is vital and all the kids love him.”
The school said it was “extremely grateful” to families, the Parents, Teachers & Friends Association, the local community, and to councillor Edwards, for his “very generous donation”.
Felix Rayner, executive headteacher, said: “We are so pleased the school community has come together to ensure Rodney’s return. He is a real asset to the schools.
“I thank all involved in making sure our children are safe.”