High-Fives in Heaven: town mourns loss of much-loved lollipop man

The late Tom Hall
The late Tom Hall

A Driffield lollipop man who worked the same crossing for 38 years and was adored by three generations of children has passed away.

Tom Hall was famous for greeting pupils with “high-fives” as they safely crossed the road on his patch outside Driffield Church Of England Voluntary Controlled Infant School – yet this also, at one point, landed him in trouble with his bosses.

Almost 1,500 people have now “liked” a Facebook page set up in his memory, and hundreds are expected to attend his funeral at Driffield Parish Church on December 11.

Sister-in-law Christine White said Tom couldn’t walk 20 paces down the street in Driffield without him being stopped by someone.

She said: “If you went anywhere with Tom, you’d never get there. People just adored him. He high-fived kids, and when they grew up he high-fived their kids as well, and in some cases he was onto the third generation.”

On one occasion while wearing a gorilla costume for Red Nose Day, Tom brought together a couple of strangers who ended up getting married

“He was attracting a lot of attention because of the costume,” says son Matthew.

“I can’t remember if it was the lady or the gentlemen who rear-ended the other person’s car, but they ended up marrying each other.

“He was like that! He would bring people together and make them smile when they were feeling down.”

The high-fives started more than 30 years ago when Mr Hall was trying to give encouragement to a little boy who didn’t want to go to school.

When it became a craze, the authorities frowned on it, but Tom said he would pack in the job all together when they threatened to ban it.

“It was a daft little thing but it meant a lot to my dad,” added Matthew.

“The kids just used to put their hands up so what could he do?” added Christine.

Meanwhile, Driffield Town Council has said a permanent memorial to Tom would be possible.

Town Clerk Claire Binnington said: “We would be very happy to work with Tom’s family should they decide they would like to see some kind of memorial at the crossing.”

Mr Hall, who passed away aged 67, was forced to quit his job at the St John’s Road crossing for health reasons in October 2013.

He leaves behind his wife Angela, and children Shane, Donna, Stacey and Matthew, as well as seven grandchildren.

The Facebook page is entitled “In memory of Tom Hall.”

All are welcome to attend funeral service which takes place at 2pm.