Ken’s back on patrol

PUBLISHED: 12:30 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:23 06 May 2010

Ken is back on patrol

Ken is back on patrol

A LOLLIPOP man is back on patrol after a council U-turn on retirement age. Ken Burton had worked outside Strathmore School in Hitchin for four years until he turned 75 in December 2004 and was told that Hertfordshire County Council could no longer employ

A LOLLIPOP man is back on patrol after a council U-turn on retirement age.

Ken Burton had worked outside Strathmore School in Hitchin for four years until he turned 75 in December 2004 and was told that Hertfordshire County Council could no longer employ him because of his age.

In May this year however, he received a phone call offering him his old job back.

Mr Burton, who is now 76, said: "I said 'there is a little problem' and they said 'what's that?' and I said, 'well, I haven't got any younger'."

The council representative assured him that he could have his job back as legislation on age discrimination had changed.

After he agreed to come back, he was interviewed for the job, had a Criminal Records Bureau search carried out on him and someone was sent to train him.

He returned to his former patch on Old Hale Way four weeks ago and said he was "only too pleased" to be helping out parents and pupils again.

He added: "I have been warmly received by all the parents and the school. They were all pleased to see me back and I was pleased to be back."

After Mr Burton was told he had to leave his job, the school's caretaker took over the patrol until his own retirement last summer.

Strathmore has been without a lollipop man since then, and Mr Burton, who is also a governor at the school, had been in contact with county hall trying to get a replacement organised.

He said: "I used to keep ringing the crossing patrol people up at Hertford to say 'what are you doing?'."

A spokesman for HCC said: "We are delighted to be able to welcome Ken back into this extremely important role.

"Impending government age discrimination legislation means that age is no longer an automatic bar on employment in cases such as his.

"Ken was a valued member of staff when he 'retired' for the first time in 2004 and we are sure that both parents and children will be pleased to see him.

"Fit and healthy older people who would like to follow Ken's example are invited to call Hertfordshire County Council on 01992 556815 to register their interest.

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