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Orange Day march to celebrate school patrols

9 June 2005

Orange Day march to celebrate school patrols

Wellington’s very own road safety superstars will be dressing in orange and marching through the central city on Friday 17 June to celebrate school patrols and the fantastic job they do.

About 1000 children from 45 Wellington City primary schools are expected to take part in the annual Orange Day street parade from Parliament, along Lambton Quay and Willis Street to Civic Square. They will be accompanied by police dogs and their handlers.

The march starts at 10am and will be followed by a celebration and entertainment at the Town Hall to thank them for their dedication and hard work. Entertainment will include local drummer Dylan Elise, juggler and unicyclist Chris Donnelly, Strathmore Community School’s Polynesian group, theatre sports group the Improvisors and the Tekno Funk Dance Company. More FM radio host Jesse Mulligan is the guest speaker.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast, the Council’s Transport spokesperson, says school patrols have been a part of life in New Zealand for so long that we tend to take them for granted.

“They play a vital role in our communities,” Mayor Prendergast says.

“This march is a fantastic opportunity for everyone who used a patrolled crossing as a child, or who has children now using a patrolled crossing, to acknowledge Wellington’s road safety superstars. I urge Wellingtonians to show their appreciation and support by joining in the march or cheering the students on as they walk by.”

Constable Trish Morris, one of the team of police education officers who train school patrols, says that patrols have a very responsible job controlling both motorists and pedestrians.

“Patrols have had an amazing safety record since they were established in the 1930s. But today's traffic patterns are very different, and it is the responsibility of all drivers to ensure they do not hinder the patrols,” she says. “This especially happens when vehicles stop on yellow lines or double park, blocking their vision.”

“At this year's Orange Day event, we will be reinstituting an old trophy that used to be awarded to the best school patrol team during the 1970s. The winning team will be chosen based on a number of criteria, such as reliability, responsibility, enthusiasm and overall safety.” The march will be led by the Scots College Pipe Band and police escorts. The celebration is being supported by Whittakers and McDonalds. Clown Ronald McDonald will greet the marchers as they arrive at the Town Hall, act as MC and hand out prizes.

Council Road Safety Manager Paul Barker says the event is always held in winter – partly to acknowledge the terrific work the patrols do in all weathers.

“Winter is also a good time to remind all drivers to take special care around schools,” he says.

“Traffic congestion is a big problem around most schools these days and worse in bad weather when more children are dropped off and picked up. We urge people to slow down, park legally if you’re collecting children or dropping them off and always watch for children crossing.”


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