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Elsenham Primary School pupils unveil plaque in memory of 90-year-old lollipop man 'Dusty'



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Pupils returning to Elsenham Primary School paused at their now unmanned pedestrian crossing to remember their much-loved lollipop man and read a plaque there in his memory.

Parents raised £300 in 24 hours for the memorial for 90-year-old Ernest ‘Dusty’ Clark, which was unveiled by eight-year-old boys Harley Drake and Charlie Loveridge in a ceremony attended by Dusty’s family, schoolchildren, parents and villagers.

A crossing patrol officer working across Uttlesford for 23 years, Dusty had spent the last 14 years safely seeing children across Elsenham’s High Street and worked up until lockdown in March. He died earlier this summer, the village turning out to pay its respects as his funeral cortège passed through.

Zebra crossing next to Elsenham Primary School. Unveiling memorial plaque for Dusty the Lollipop man who passed away earlier this year. Rev Rob Burles and family members look on as pupils Charlie Loveridge and Harley Drake unveil the plaque. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (42026811)
Zebra crossing next to Elsenham Primary School. Unveiling memorial plaque for Dusty the Lollipop man who passed away earlier this year. Rev Rob Burles and family members look on as pupils Charlie Loveridge and Harley Drake unveil the plaque. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (42026811)

Jackie Drake, one of a group of parents who organised the plaque and whose son Harley read a few lines at the ceremony with classmate Charlie, said that the event was a fitting tribute.

“All his family were there so we got to meet them, which was really lovely. I knew Dusty, but not his family, so to meet them all and have a chat and share stories was amazing,” she said.

“Rev Rob Burles said a few words and the boys said a couple of lines and laid flowers, and then the family spoke.

Ernest 'Dusty' Clark (42086765)
Ernest 'Dusty' Clark (42086765)

“Walking to school and seeing the plaque there, it felt like he was still watching over us, which for the first day back for our school was lovely.”

The plaque's inscription reads: “In loving memory of our dear friend and lollipop man DUSTY CLARK 1929-2020 A true gentleman who was kind, gentle and funny. Truly warm hearted and always there for our children come rain or shine. 'Alright Curly’ ‘Come on run, no don’t run’.”

Dusty’s daughter, Susan Winstanley, said that the family, including her father's partner, Sheila, attended the unveiling.

"It was lovely to see some of the mums and children. I met Jackie Drake and we're going to keep in touch. Her son gave me a bit of paper with a drawing of my dad he'd done, it was so touching.

Zebra crossing next to Elsenham Primary School. Unveiling memorial plaque for Dusty the Lollipop man who passed away earlier this year. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (42026874)
Zebra crossing next to Elsenham Primary School. Unveiling memorial plaque for Dusty the Lollipop man who passed away earlier this year. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (42026874)

"The boys said their little bit and then said 'Thank you for keeping us safe, Dusty', which was so lovely. When we're all allowed to get together again we'll have a nice little do for Dad and get together to chat and share stories with people."

Education authority Essex County Council is advertising for a replacement crossing patrol officer.



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