Reported in the News Letter on December 20, 1954: School patrolmen paid off after hitting age 75

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Fourteen of Belfast’s street crossing patrolmen employed by the Education Committee to conduct school children across the streets in safety, were paid off at the weekend in having reached the upper age limit of 75 years.

The chief education welfare officer (Mr A V Haslett) told a “Belfast News-Letter” reporter that it had been an unpleasant duty to perform as most of the men had given excellent service since the patrol scheme was introduced six years ago.

One of the Belfast patrolmen who served at a busy crossing for six years, and who has been “retired”, said that he very much regretted having to give up the post.

“I had grown very fond of the children,” he said.

“They would gather round me when coming or going to school and would not cross the road until I gave them the signal.

“In fact,” he said, “they called me their ‘white daddy’, having seen me always in my white coat, and last week, when the schools closed for the Christmas holidays, I received many gifts from children and their parents.”

More than 100 patrolmen are still employed by the committee. They will receive new uniforms and signal boards before the new regulations come into force on January 1.