Lollipop man 'in tears' over tinsel ban

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The Independent Online

A school crossing patrol officer declared his bosses humbugs today for banning him from placing Christmas tinsel on his lollipop.

Kevin Simpson has decorated his lollipop each year to spread some festive cheer among the children arriving at Berrywood Primary School in Hedge End, Southampton.

But this year, after he placed extra tinsel around the edge of the circular sign, a member of the public complained to his employers, Hampshire County Council.

Mr Simpson, 45, told the Southern Daily Echo: "The sign could still be clearly seen and I also wear distinctive uniform. There is no way I would put the children in danger.

"After all this is the festive season and it is only for a couple of weeks.

"When I was told that the tinsel had to go I was in tears and so were the children."

Councillor Ken Thornber, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: "It's nice to see that the lollipop man is trying to spread a little bit of Christmas cheer. They do such a vital job and it would be a shame if they could not have some festive fun.

"While I do not know the full details of this matter and I haven't seen the stick I do know there are guidelines to ensure the safety of children using the crossings as well as the safety of motorists and our school crossing patrol staff.

"Any rules and dress codes are about ensuring the safety of children and they are there for legal and insurance reasons, but I'd want to be sure officers were not being over-zealous in their interpretation and to see if a balance can be struck between festive fun and road safety."

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