Chesterfield’s famous dancing lollipop man could be axed

Alan Filbee, the popular crossing patrol on High Street in Old Whittington, could soon be out of a job.
Alan Filbee, the popular crossing patrol on High Street in Old Whittington, could soon be out of a job.

A popular ‘dancing lollipop man’ could lose his job if council budget cuts go ahead – leaving parents fearing for their children’s safety.

Derbyshire County Council has written to all schools with a crossing patrol ahead of a full consultation, potentially saving the authority £300,000. If a school wants to keep its crossing patrol, it is being asked to fund the £4,000 cost.

Alan Filbee has been entertaining parents, children and motorists with his Elvis moves on High Street in Old Whittington as he helps youngsters cross to Mary Swanwick Community Primary School for about seven years.

Parent Christopher Thoel, 37, whose two children attend the school, said: “High Street in this area can become extremely busy at peak times and children will be playing Russian roulette with their life attempting to cross to get to school.”

He added: “All the kids love Alan. He has said that if he could win the lottery he would do it for free. Derbyshire County Council is holding the school to ransom.”

The council proposed a similar scheme in 2015 – with some schools partnering up with a parish council or a local business.

Each of the 108 school crossing patrols in Derbyshire earn £7.85 an hour and typically work for 40 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon, and are paid the same monthly rate during the school holidays.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson said: “Like every council in the country we’re facing challenges because our funding has to stretch further than ever before and we’re constantly looking at different and more efficient ways of working.

“One of the services we’re reviewing is school crossing patrols, and how they may be provided in the future.

“We’re currently exploring different options but it is very early days and no decisions have yet been made.

“We would consult on any changes and make sure people had the opportunity to have their say before final decisions were made.”

The school declined to comment.