Loving farewell for Elsenham lollipop man
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:21 26 August 2020
Supplied by Dusty''s family
A 90-year-old school crossing patrol officer from Takeley was so well-loved that parents and children lined the streets in Elsenham for his funeral procession. A plaque will be installed near the crossing where he stood for nearly two decades.
Ernest James Clark, known as Dusty, grew up in Great Canfield.
Dusty worked as a medical van driver until he retired aged 65 and his role involved driving nurses and doctors and picking up blood. Two years later, he wanted to be back in work.
Daughter Sue Winstanley said: “My sister turned around and said: ‘Why don’t you become a lollipop man?’”
Dusty took up the role in Dunmow for nine years. He moved to Elsenham, where he looked after Elsenham Primary School children at the crossing.
Sue said: “He loved it there. He loved the parents and the job.”
Children, parents and staff from Elsenham Primary School and Takeley residents lined the streets for his funeral procession. Dusty stopped for one minute by the crossing where he had stood for 18 years. Then he continued his journey.
Sue said: “There were so many people at the procession, I was just overwhelmed. He loved telling jokes and I think he got the attention of people and was very good with the children.
“Come rain or shine, even snow, he was at the crossing. As a family, we didn’t realise how well loved he was. He did this up until lockdown, he said he never wanted to give it up. He was a very loving father and we miss him like mad.”
A group of Elsenham parents are arranging for a plaque near the school crossing after a Facebook appeal raised money in just 24 hours.
Elsenham resident Jackie Drake said: “He was such a wonderful character that as parents we wanted to do something for him.”
An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “Dusty was a lovely and very popular man, and we are deeply saddened by his passing. He was a well-respected school patrol officer, and he will be greatly missed by the School Crossing Patrol team, as well as the school communities that he served over his 23 years with the scheme.”
Dusty leaves son Stephen, daughters Denise and Sue, partner Sheila, one grandchild and four great grandchildren - with one more on the way.
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