SUPPORT is mounting for the Echo’s campaign to save the county’s lollipop men and women.

The joint campaign with sister paper the Colchester Gazette has now reached more than 1,000 signatures from the online and paper petition, and we are preparing to hand it in to County Hall next week.

Essex County Council announced it is looking to scrap funding for 55 school crossing patrols on zebra and pelican crossings, due to budget constraints.

The move has been slammed by pupils, parents and teachers who fear the cuts could put children’s lives at risk.

As the Echo went to press, 1,054 readers had signed the petition – with more and more people backing our campaign every day.

Colin Clarke, from Basildon, said: “The crossing people make friends with the kids and the kids accept the safety without question.

“It has proved a very cheap and efficient way to provide safety and provides occupation and social connection for a lot of senior citizens.”

Mat Batchelor, from Canvey, added: “It is important to me to have their presence to keep an eye on children crossing the busy roads, and to ensure the younger ones are supervised.

“Having a crossing patrol there also heightens driver awareness children are in the vicinity.”

Claire Keay, from Rayleigh, said the proposals to were “not acceptable”.

She added: “I find it hard to believe anyone thinks removing crossing patrols is a good idea.

“Roads are busier than ever and it is a basic requirement as a community to keep children safe when crossing roads.”

Jason Belton, from Canvey, added: “I grew up with lollipop men and women helping me to cross roads, so why can our children not have the same privilege?

“Day after day I see children run out into roads late for school, only for the lollipop man to stop the traffic for the child to cross safely.

“What would have happened if he hadn’t been there?”

Former Essex residents, who have since moved to Milton Keynes, Western-super-Mare, and even Australia, have backed the Echo’s campaign.

To sign the petition, visit -our-lollipop-men-and-women