An 89-year-old lollipop man is being made redundant after more than two decades in the job - despite saying he would work for free.

Alfred Tollon, who turns 90 on March 17 next year, will work his last day keeping children safe in Albany Road, Hornchurch, next Thursday (March 28), a letter from Havering Council confirming his redundancy shows.

The 89-year-old, who has helped Harrow Lodge Primary School children across the road for 24 years, had planned to retire at 90 regardless and said he did not want to stop working.

Alfred, who is known as Alf, added that he would gladly work for free, since the job gave his life purpose.

Romford Recorder: Alf has been in the role for 24 years and wants to keep goingAlf has been in the role for 24 years and wants to keep going (Image: Bethany Tollon)

"I would do it for nothing," Alf said. "It gets me up in the morning, otherwise I'm just gonna lay in bed for a few hours.

"I feel fit, whereas if I wasn't doing anything I'd just fall apart I think."

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Romford Recorder: The 89-year-old said he would miss the children and babies the mostThe 89-year-old said he would miss the children and babies the most (Image: Bethany Tollon)


His granddaughter Bethany, 26, who travels from Thurrock to see Alf in his Dolphin Approach flats for the elderly near Mercury Gardens, Romford, said he is still "in denial" about the decision.

"He's said it's not happening, it's only rumours - but we've got a letter," she said.

"We're trying to sink it in that it's in the next week he finishes," she added.

In a letter to Alf, a Havering Council officer stated: "I am writing to confirm it has not been possible to appoint you into suitable alternative employment.

"It is therefore necessary that I write to issue you with 12 weeks' notice of termination of your contract of employment."

Bethany said she understood why Havering Council needed to make cutbacks as it grapples with a budget crisis, but feared for the impact on Alf's wellbeing.

"We've just got to hope really," she said. "It's going to mentally impact him because he's stuck at home.

"There's not a lot for them [the elderly] unfortunately - he wants to be around young people and there's not a lot out there."

Despite his age, Alf said that he feels fit enough to keep doing the job and would miss the role.

"People have been good to me [over the years]," Alf said. "I look forward to seeing the children in the morning, especially the little babies, so I shall miss all of that.

"I started when the children were little and now they're going to work, I know a lot of them who've done that," he added.

The 89-year-old said he understood the council's decision, but would miss the role dearly.

“They [people in Hornchurch] reckon I’m doing a grand job so that’s all I can say, but it does have to come to an end sometime," Alf added.

Bethany said her grandad was determined to find something else to do and would stay active, even considering charity work.

"He was driving his motorbike at 80 and upside down on rollercoasters - he's living his life," she said. "There's coffee mornings in the community but he doesn't want to sit there and be elderly."

"He's out more than I am," Bethany added.

A Havering Council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, we can’t comment on individual cases, but as many residents will be aware, the council is facing financial challenges, and as part of that we have carried out a review of the school crossing patrol service.

“As a result, we have restructured the service which, sadly, has meant a number of staff redundancies.”

They confirmed that less than 15 per cent of schools in the borough have a school crossing patrol.