Star Awards: People’s Champion nominee Bill goes extra mile for pupils

Bill Esslemont, with school support assistant Cara McGuigan who nominated him
Bill Esslemont, with school support assistant Cara McGuigan who nominated him

An Aberdeen school crossing patroller has spoken of his joy after being named as a finalist for an award celebrating council employees.

Bill Esslemont, 76, greets parents and pupils before and after school at Woodside Primary every day with a smile on his face come rain or shine – or even snow.

He has been nominated for the People’s Champion for 2019 because he is known for going the extra mile to make everyone welcome, even learning greetings in five different languages.

Bill Esslemont, with pupils Joseph McGuigan, Naira Khan, Kostas Narbutis and Lucas Leslie

Bill, who has been a crossing patroller for more than 10 years at different primary schools, previously worked as a traffic warden with the police, which gave him a useful grounding in handling traffic.

He said: “I’m a bit shocked, I have never liked the limelight.

“I am so used to stepping on the road, it does not bother me at all.

“The children taught me the languages – the mothers kept me right. I do try to pick up certain words – key words. Some are easy but the grown-ups get a laugh.

“I do enjoy my job because I get to mix with the public. I just find I am doing a job for the community.

“I think of it as a repayment to society, being a lollipop man.

“It makes you feel very old to see the nursery children grow up. I know most of the kids and it keeps me young. I think it gives the kids a boost in the morning when you know their names.

“I have stayed longer in this job than I intended because I enjoy it so much.”

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Bill was nominated for the award by school support assistant and parent at Woodside, Cara McGuigan.

Bill Esslemont

She said: “I have been wanting to nominate Bill for a while but I kept missing the boat and I was kicking myself.

“Other members of staff have been talking about it too.

“Parents come into the school and comment on how fabulous Bill is and how welcome he makes them feel at the school if they are new.

“The fact he learns how to greet people if they are from another country goes down a storm with their families.

“He is just a treasure to have at Woodside.

“We are so lucky to have him. Parents, pupils and staff all appreciate the work he does.

“He is just so good at his job, everyone warms to him, even the public and drivers, who have nothing to do with the school, love getting a wave if they are on a bike or in a car.

“He is even here before hours in the winter to clear the paths for us and he will stay after hours to grit the pavements.

“He just does everything to ensure the safety of our pupils.”

Star Awards: Aberdeen council worker tells of surprise at People’s Champion nomination

How to Vote

The closing date for votes to be received is 10am on Wednesday June 19 2019.

Votes can be emailed to:

Alternatively, you can submit a postal vote to:

Star Awards 2019 Aberdeen City Council Business Hub 15 3rd Floor South Marischal College Broad Street Aberdeen, AB10 1AB

Your vote can also be handed in at Marischal College.