'Wonderful' support for injured lollipop man

DM1992636a.jpg. Pupils at Billingshurst Primary School are hoping lollipop man John Gooderham will recover soon after a crash outside the school that left him with broken ribs. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.
DM1992636a.jpg. Pupils at Billingshurst Primary School are hoping lollipop man John Gooderham will recover soon after a crash outside the school that left him with broken ribs. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

The family of a lollipop man injured while on duty at Billingshurst Primary School have said how touched they are by an outpouring of support from the community.

John Gooderham, 70, was left with five fractured ribs after the incident in Station Road on Thursday.

DM1992693a.jpg. Pupils at Billingshurst Primary School are hoping lollipop man John Gooderham will recover soon after a crash outside the school that left him with broken ribs. Willow Parsons, four, and Lily Smith, nine. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

DM1992693a.jpg. Pupils at Billingshurst Primary School are hoping lollipop man John Gooderham will recover soon after a crash outside the school that left him with broken ribs. Willow Parsons, four, and Lily Smith, nine. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

Police said the lollipop man had been ‘struck by a car while on duty’ as pupils were leaving school at the end of the day.

John was taken to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester with broken ribs as well as cuts and bruises to his arms and legs.

This week his daughter Abi Smith spoke out to thank the community, which has rallied around to show its support for the much-loved crossing guard.

She said the family had had ‘so many wonderful messages’ and get well cards from pupils, parents and neighbours, the cards have had to be strung up around the walls ‘like Christmas cards’ in the room where John is convalescing.

Lollipop man John Gooderham. Photo by Derek Martin DM1615233a

Lollipop man John Gooderham. Photo by Derek Martin DM1615233a

She said: “It’s just been ‘wow, thank you’. We’re absolutely touched by the response.

“Some of cards and the messages we’ve had on our village forum on Facebook have been ‘the whole village is behind you John’, and ‘we can’t wait to have you back’.

“It’s been so lovely and it’s really helping him.

“I think so many people were so shocked. It could have been so much worse if a child was involved.

“There’s nothing really good can come of it but that people have really cared.”

She said teachers at the school had taken over the crossing patrol while John recovered but his ribs would take a while to mend.

In the meantime, the messages of support have been an emotional help.

“I think sometimes you can suffer a physical injury and mentally,” Abi said.

“Unfortunately it’s cracked ribs and it just takes time, that’s what the hospital said to him.

“He’s doing quite well, dosed up on medication and painkillers but it’s a step forward, one day at a time.”

Long term, she said the increase in traffic in Billingshurst through the school area would need to be addressed and the school governors would be looking at what could be done.