Life is sweets

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SCHOOLCHILDREN were always delighted to see Charlie Gibbons on duty outside Hartlepool’s West Park Primary School.

For Charlie, 69-years-young in 1974, did more than simply see the youngsters across the road safely.

Each morning at his Elwick Road crossing, he had a smile and a sweet for his regulars - and reckoned the money he spent on the treats was well worth it.

He told the Mail: “Just to see the smile on their faces is sufficient reward for me.”

Charlie started giving out the sweets when he started the crossing job in spring 1973, he told young reporter Jeff Stelling, who was responsible for the Junior Mail page.

“I buy two quarters of sweets every week and give one or two out to the youngsters from the primary school,” he explained.

“I have been doing this since the school opened.”

Charlie was impressed with the youngsters of the day: “The little boys and girls are no trouble. If I don’t give them any sweets they don’t ask for them – they accept it.

“When I do have some though they are just as polite - they always say ‘please and ‘thank you’.”

Charlie did get treats of his own, proudly showing Mail man Jeff a painting presented to him by one of the girls at the school.

Jeff, who now works for Sky Sports, filled his Junior Mail page on February 27, 1974, with other items of interest to youngsters, including pieces on a road safety quiz, Beatrix Potter’s new wave of popularity and the latest craze – the Wombles.

Do you remember lollipop man Charlie Gibbons? Contact Andrew Levett by writing to him at New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX or via email to