Traffic patrol children's time to shine

1200 Wellington school children march

STACEY KIRK AND SELINA POWELL
Last updated 13:17 14/09/2012

Orange Day

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They are the unsung heroes of the school play yard, but today more than 1200 school traffic patrollers got their time to shine in a dedicated parade through the capital.

Blanketing the streets of Wellington dressed in orange, a record number of primary school children marched from the steps of Parliament to Civic Square.

The children came from about 40 schools across the lower North Island, and while police briefly shut down some of the main roads, Wellington City Council gave thanks to the thousands of child-volunteers that worked to keep roads outside schools safe.

Wellington City Council transport safety co-ordinator Anna Blomquist said there was a record turnout.

"It's the largest number of students we've had - 1300."

She said New Zealand was the only country  in the world which had children volunteer to do school patrols, "which is something pretty special".

New Zealand had had an excellent safety record since the patrols were established in the 1930s.

Blomquist said the children took their roles in road safety very seriously, but they also learned valuable skills when they get put through the training.

St Bernard School pupil Amelia McMahon, 12, had been a road patroller for four years and spent a week preparing a banner for Orange Day street parade.

"It's about coming together to recognise road patrollers and how important they are."

Constable Duncan Ashton said he parade was a reward day for children who act as road patrollers, and also helped to raise awareness about road safety.

"It helps to keep the enthusiasm going, especially after the long and cold winter."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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