Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 13:02 UK

High-five ban lollipop man quits

Lollipop man, John Hunter (Pic: Edinburgh Evening News)
John Hunter said children would queue up to receive one of his high-fives

An Edinburgh lollipop man has quit over claims he was told not to high-five children or give them sweets.

John Hunter has worked at Corstorphine Primary School for 10 years.

The 69-year-old, who dished out chocolates on his birthday and at Christmas, said pupils would queue up to give him high-fives.

He decided to quit when he said he was told to stop both activities after two complaints from parents. The council said it was "sad" he was leaving.

Mr Hunter said he was told by the council that giving out high-fives was a "health and safety risk".

It is thought that one parent complained after John gave a chocolate with nuts to a child with a nut allergy by mistake.

It's a rotten way to go. The children have made me promise to come back and tell jokes
John Hunter

Mr Hunter used to be a roads maintenance inspector with Edinburgh City Council and took up the lollipop job when he retired from that role. He has worked at Corstorphine for the last decade.

He said: "This is the first complaint I've ever had in 37 years. Now suddenly I'm a danger to these children.

"They said it's health and safety, but I can't see if it's the children's safety or mine.

"I've built up a strong relationship with them over the years, and I'm going to miss them a lot. I was thinking about retiring anyway, so I've handed in my resignation.

"But it's a rotten way to go. The children have made me promise to come back and tell jokes."

Some parents have written to the school or called to complain.

One said: "All the children love Mr Hunter. I can understand why they asked him not to give out sweets, but not the high-fives."

An Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: "We are really sad that John is leaving his post.

"Over the years, he has provided excellent service and a friendly smile to parents and pupils at Corstorphine Primary."

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