'Most of the children and their families know me'
FOR almost two decades Roy Baggaley has been helping children cross the road safely on their way to and from school.
But like a host of lollipop men and women across the city the 68-year-old, left, could soon see his role axed.
Standing on the busy Ford Green Road in Norton, Roy is a familiar face to pupils and parents from the surrounding schools who he welcomes with a friendly greeting as they stand by the crossing.
"It's a brilliant job," says the grandfather-of-three, who lives in Milton. "Most of the children and families know my name, which is really nice."
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Roy decided to become a lollipop man after being made redundant from British Coal in 1994.
Despite receiving a miners' pension he decided to continue working and help his local community.
He said: "Being a lollipop man gives me something to get up for in the morning, otherwise I would have a lie-in and stay in bed and I don't really want that."
Roy works for around 20 hours each week. He is at the crossing between 8.10am and 9am and then from 2.45pm to 3.45pm. He takes home around £200 in wages every month.
Roy added: "Getting up to come here in bad weather doesn't bother me because when it's cold I will just wear more layers.
"I get on very well with the people around here and I am just pleased to do the job. During the summer holidays I am already looking forward to starting back to work."
It is estimated that Roy helps around 60 children to cross Ford Green Road, by its junction with St Nicholas Avenue, every day. They come from a number of schools, including Norton Community Primary School, St Mary's Catholic Primary School and high schools such as Holden Lane and St Margaret Ward, in Little Chell.
Roy added: "When you are helping the younger children cross the road, it's not simply about getting them across the road, but educating them about safety. That's a really important part of our job.
"I am certain I have prevented some accidents over the years."
His efforts have also been recognised over the years with youngsters and parents casting their vote to help him pick up a hat-trick of accolades.
In 2008 he picked up the Stoke-on-Trent's School Crossing Patrol Warden of the Year award before scooping the Community Crossing Warden of the Year gong in 2009 and 2010.
But Roy now faces losing his job because of the council cuts.
He said: "I am very surprised that the futures of some of the wardens are under review as it is so important to keep the children of this city safe.
"If I could carry on doing this job, then I would, but I don't know what the council will decide. I'll be very sad to leave."
Parents have also given their backing to Roy.
Mother-of-three Julia Ratcliffe, aged 38, of Norton, said: "The kids go rushing out into the road and if it wasn't for Roy there would have been accidents."
Louise Keates, aged 34, of Norton, who has three children, added: "Everyone loves him to bits. It's ridiculous the council is looking to get rid of crossing wardens."