PARENTS of a Basingstoke primary school fear a child could be injured or killed if the county council does not replace their school crossing patrol.

Parents and pupils of Chalk Ridge Primary School, in Brighton Hill, said a fond goodbye to Ken Edwards last week, who is retiring aged 80 after helping families cross Sullivan Road for 15 years.

But parents have yet to hear if he will be replaced in September.

Helen Harris, whose six-year-old son Jacob had his foot run over by a car when Ken was away, told The Gazette: “Ken was either poorly or on holiday but it was a day when he wasn’t there. There is a central island on the road and I had hold of my son and he let go of me and ran into the road. A car was coming and hit him straight away. He cut his foot. The paramedic said that he was very lucky because he was wearing a welly boot and if he hadn’t been, he would have lost his foot. It was awful.”

The 34-year-old mother-of-two, from Porter Road, added: “It shows how valuable Ken is and also how important he is. We have heard the council aren’t going to replace him and it’s a great concern. Without Ken there something more serious will happen. A child could be killed. The cars really speed down that road. Even with Ken there they speed.”

She said Ken was hugely popular with the children, adding: “He must know every single child’s name. He’s got a way of making them laugh. If they are unhappy he has a way of making them smile and he’s such a lovely person. We are very lucky to have had him.”

Michele White, a mother-of-four, said Ken will be missed by parents and children, adding: “I have got to know him and he’s so chatty. He knows all the children by name and creates nicknames for them. He brings them lollipops at the end of term and goes out of his way to be nice to everyone.”

The 33-year-old, from Porter Road, is urging Hampshire County Council to provide a replacement school crossing patrol, adding: “It can be quite dangerous along that road. The risk to the children is really high, and the parents. We really rely on him being there. There have been a couple of accidents within the last two years when he hasn’t been there. The traffic can be bad. He’s put himself in danger several times.”

Ken, who took the job after retiring as an electrical engineer, said he had been given the impression by Hampshire County Council that it was not planning on replacing him in September.

But the father-of-one said he had no choice but to retire, having battled prostate cancer during the last two years.

“I don’t think I could go through another winter,” he told The Gazette.

The pensioner decided to apply for the job after retiring, and said: “I wanted something that would get me out of bed in the morning. I’m sorry I have got to retire but my body is letting me down. The last two years have been hard.”

Ken said he will miss his job, adding: “I will miss the kids, but I have to retire. My health comes first.”

A spokesman for Hampshire County Council said: “We have received no written notification from the school crossing patrol officer at Chalk Ridge Primary School that he intends to retire or leave Hampshire County Council’s employment.

“In the event that we do receive notification that the school crossing patrol officer plans to leave or retire, then we will carry out our standard assessment to determine whether the site still meets the criteria for a school crossing patrol before making a decision on a replacement.”