Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009

Scots lollipop man is best in UK

John Foley with his award

A former firefighter from Renfrewshire has seen off competition from 19,000 rivals to be crowned the UK's favourite lollipop man.

John Foley, 56, from Paisley, was recognised for his work at the town's Bushes Primary School.

He won a £1,500 holiday voucher and £3,000 for the school to build a community garden.

Staff and pupils at Bushes Primary nominated Mr Foley for his enthusiasm and dedication to the role.

As well as helping the school's 358 pupils get safely across the road, he also helps the dinner ladies set up for lunch and has even stepped in to change car tyres for teachers with a puncture.

He's such an important part of our school and we really don't think the title could go to a better person. The kids love him and so do we
Moira Monaghan
Head teacher

Mr Foley, who retired from the fire service last year when he was diagnosed with ME, said he was "grateful" for the award and praised the school for its "feel-good atmosphere".

He added: "It's marvellous, it's just marvellous. It's very generous sponsorship so it is good for the school as well.

"It is a wonderful school, and I am doing a job that I love. It's a wonderful place. The staff, the kids, the whole ambience to the place is just marvellous."

Mr Foley won the Scottish title last month before taking the UK title of Kwik-Fit Insurance Lollipop Person of the Year.

He was presented with the award at a ceremony in the school on Monday.Head teacher Moira Monaghan said: "We were over the moon when we heard John had been picked as the winner for Scotland but when we took the call saying he had won for the whole of the UK we just couldn't believe it.

"He's such an important part of our school and we really don't think the title could go to a better person. The kids love him and so do we."

During the presentation ceremony, pupils serenaded Mr Foley with their version of The Proclaimers' hit 500 Miles, with the words changed to praise their lollipop man.



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