Alan Pyle, East Boldon Infants school’s crossing guard for almost 15 years, sadly passed away on Thursday, June 5, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 75.
Since the news broke, dozens of tributes have been placed outside the school gates, including flowers and hearts with messages from parents and pupils - both past and present.
The grandad-of-three, who was born in South Shields in 1944 had lived in East Boldon for 46 years, with his wife Olive, and sons Karl, now 49, and Mark, 47.
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After many years as a child protection social worker, Alan took on his new role of lollipop man in his retirement in September 2005.
His son Mark has been inundated with messages on social media from those whose lives were made a little brighter by Alan.
“I had no idea the reaction I would get, it’s overwhelming,” said Mark.
“I’ve had over 740 messages, some from mums and dads whose kids are now in their 20s - he had a real lasting legacy.”
Mark, a charge nurse at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where Alan passed away, continued: “He just seemed to have this bond with people, he had such a warm personality and it just shone through.
“He was a real beacon of light in East Boldon.”
He added: “Seeing the flowers and tributes gives us a warm glow to know that it’s all for our dad.
“We’ve been able to see him in a different light and it means so much.”
East Boldon Infants headteacher, Lisa Holt commented: “Alan was much-loved by the children in school and the whole community. He made the short trip to school a highlight with his high fives and always had a happy welcome. He will be sadly missed.
We began a small tribute at the crossing and in a short space of time messages and flowers have been placed there. This shows just how well thought of and respected he was in our community.”
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