HUGS, waves and tears greeted the return of popular top Mossley lollipop lady, Pat Hardman.
For the first time in nearly 18 months Pat returned to her familiar crossing place outside St George’s School on Stamford Street.
And she was as pleased to be back as the youngsters and their mums and dads were pleased to see her back on patrol.
“It just feels right,” smiled emotional Pat as St George’s pupils returned for the first day of the new school year on Wednesday, September 6.
“But I did wonder if this day would ever come. I heard a few Chinese whispers I might be coming back.
“Then my boss got in touch and said there was a chance.
When the little girl nearly got run over it made it more apparent that there had to be someone here.
“And it’s good to know I can still stop the traffic,” laughed Pat, whose return coincided with her 31st wedding anniversary to husband, Andrew.
Pat’s comeback marks the end of a long campaign by parents, residents and Mossley Town Council to introduce traffic calming measures outside the School after Pat’s post was made redundant in April 2016.
Plans for an £11,000 Pelican crossing were scrapped on advice from Greater Manchester Police.
And a major overhaul of all traffic safety measures from Ashton/Mossley through to Saddleworth is dependant on Government funding being made available early next year.
So pressure was cranked up when a four-year-old pupil was involved in a near miss with a car outside the school before the end of term last summer.
“We are really pleased that the crossing patrol is starting up again and that we have back our own well loved Pat back in the role,” said TMBC and Mossley Councillor Frank Travis.
“Going forward we need to finalise the bid for the bigger scheme to be submitted shortly.
“If this is approved then road safety will be much improved on this corridor. The Engineers at Tameside are working with their colleagues in Oldham as the improvement route continues into Saddleworth.
“We should know the result around Christmas and plan a start as soon as the funding is approved.”
Symon Randall from the Mossley Road Safety Group (a combination of local people and councillors) said: “We have worked hard to achieve a positive result although it is a temporary measure until we can progress further with the bid to get the crossing and general repairs to the main stretch of Mossley’s roads.
“We have got to where we are with help from Cllrs Frank Travis and Jack Homer and backing from Mossley Town Council.
“Besides the group meetings, a lot of work has been conducted in the background with emails and phone calls and meeting with the Highways Agency. This has been a joint effort for nearly two years.”