Villagers line the streets of Elsenham to bid farewell to 90-year-old lollipop man Dusty.
Villagers and schoolchildren stood in silent tribute at the pedestrian crossing outside Elsenham Primary School to pay their final respects to well-loved lollipop man Ernest ‘Dusty’ Clark.
The popular character had patrolled school crossings in Uttlesford for 23 years, seeing thousands of youngsters safely across the road - the last 14 years spent in Elsenham's High Street.
He passed away last month aged, 90, and had been working up until he was taken ill.
On Friday, his funeral cortege drove through the village accompanied by a wave of gentle applause from bystanders who had lined the street to bid him farewell. It paused at the school crossing for a minutes’ silence where a lollipop man stood in the centre of the road in his honour.
The family then made their way to LIttle Canfield church for a private service.
His daughter, Sue Winstanley, told the Indie this week that the family had been overwhelmed by the response and thanked people for giving him “a wonderful send-off”.
“It was a very emotional day, but it made us realise how popular and loved he was. Come rain, shine or snow he would be out there and he was the most loving person you could ever meet. I couldn’t ask for a better dad, he was wonderful.”
Sue’s husband, Kevin, added: “His job as a lollipop man was a calling, a passion, he loved it so much.
“We are learning ourselves about him as we never realised how important he was in the community and that makes us very proud. Driving through the village was amazing, we were all crying in the car as it was such a shock to see all those people - we are very grateful.”
School parents have organised for a brass plaque to go up on the wall next to the crossing in Dusty’s memory and hope to have it in place before children return to class in September.
A spokesperson for Essex County Council, said: “Ernest, who was affectionately known as 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 team, as well as the school communities that he served over his 23 years with the service.”
Dusty, who lived in Takeley, leaves his partner of 27 years, Sheila, daughters Sue and Denise, son Stephen, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild.