A legendary lollipop man was almost forced to abandon his tradition of bringing festive joy to Bexley primary school kids, when "Scrooge" complained about him dressing up as Santa.

Hurst Primary School crossing guard Derek dons his costume every year, on the last week of term before the Christmas break.

He puts it on under his uniform and reflective clothing, which he is legally required to wear.

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However, on Tuesday (December 15) morning the ritual was put under threat, when Bexley Council received a complaint about Derek’s attire.

The caller claimed much-loved patroller Derek, who stands on the corner of Murchison Avenue, was not wearing his high-vis jacket – a complaint which has since turned out to be false.

Sidcup dad-of-two and Hurst parent Andrew Rank today (December 18) praised the "lovely" crossing guard, saying: "Parents were completely behind Derek regarding his Christmas attire.

"I also see Chris, the other crossing lady, on the school run – she is a star.

"They both do a great job, come rain or shine."

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Mr Rank, dad to daughters Mattea, seven, and Sophia, three, was glad Derek could wear his outfit with pride on the last day of school today.

The Canterbury Avenue resident said: "All it takes is one miserable person to spoil things, especially at Christmas time."

He also joked of the popular patroller: "I hope he had a sack to carry all his Christmas gifts home.


"Long may you carry on, Derek."

A spokesman said although Bexley Council received a complaint against Derek, it would not be pursuing the matter further.

The council reportedly received several phone calls in support of the lollipop man.

His daughter Natalie told News Shopper: "I am glad others are outraged as much as I was.

"He has the support of the parents, which he is grateful for."

She later tweeted: "Common sense prevails and the Santa lollipop man continues, thanks to people power."

A Bexley Council spokesman said: "School crossing patrols are required to wear specific items of uniform to allow them to legally stop traffic, both for their safety and the safety of those they are helping.

"We received a complaint yesterday (Tuesday) to say one of our school crossing patrols was wearing a Santa outfit rather than his uniform when on duty earlier in the week.

"As safety is our prime concern, the supervisor contacted him to discuss the issue and was assured that the patrol was wearing his full uniform over his Santa suit and therefore carrying out his duties legally.

"Under these circumstances he was not told to stop wearing the Santa outfit and no further action was taken."