Royal recognition for longest-serving Buckinghamshire school crossing patroller
With 43 years’ service under her belt, Christine Walker is the longest-serving school crossing patroller in the county. Last week, Christine’s dedication to her role received royal recognition as she was officially awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work.
Christine first picked up her lollipop in 1978, taking over the post from her own mother-in-law. Since then, Christine has helped guide thousands of pupils and their parents and carers safely across the road, to and from West Wycombe Primary School.
In recognition of her efforts, Christine was awarded a BEM for services to road safety in the New Years Honours. Christine was presented with her medal by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, The Countess Howe, at a ceremony at Penn House. Christine who was previously invited to attend a Royal Garden Party in 2018, was thrilled to receive her award. She said: “I love welcoming the children into school each day and have enjoyed watching them grow up and bring their own children and grandchildren along to the school.”
When Christine first started her role, school crossing patrollers wore a simple, white dust coat. Now they wear high visibility fluorescent and reflective clothing but still carry their iconic ‘lollipops’ that give them their much-loved identity.
Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport said: “I would like to send my congratulations and sincere thanks to Christine for her incredible dedication and hard work over the years. Our school crossing patrollers do a fantastic job helping children across the county to have a safe journey to and from school every day. Whatever the weather, Christine and her colleagues are there with a smile on their faces and a cheery greeting, carrying out such an important job in our local communities which we thank them for.”
He continued: “School crossing patrollers also play a key role in promoting more active travel and encouraging families to walk to and from school instead of driving by creating a safer environment to do so. This has a positive impact in multiple ways, from cleaner air to healthier lifestyles and important learning about road safety from an early age.”
Buckinghamshire has around 60 school crossing patrollers whose role is to provide a vital community service in helping children and families get to and from school safely every day. More information on school road safety schemes and initiatives in Buckinghamshire can be found on online.
British Empire Medals are awarded for active service to the local community, worthy of recognition by the Crown.
Speaking after the event, Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, The Countess Howe said: "Christine is one of Buckinghamshire's many unsung heroes doing wonderful things for the good of the community without expectation of reward or recognition. The British Empire Medal is a way of thanking these individuals for the fantastic work they are doing. I am in awe of Christine's dedication and commitment and indeed all Buckinghamshire Honours recipients and congratulate them most heartily on their awards."