LOLLIPOP men and women are set to be allowed to work beyond the age of 75 – because of problems recruiting new ones.

Council bosses want to scrap the upper age limit to help older ‘school crossing patrollers’ to continue in their jobs.

The move was proposed after two lollipop men in the Lancashire County Council area were forced to retire last year after turning 75.

And another five are due to turn 75 during 2010.

Officers have estimated that more than 30 valued lollipop men and women across the county could be forced into retirement over the next few years unless the rules are changed.

Those over 75 would still be allowed to carry on – provided they take a medical test every year.

The new rules were yesterday given the backing of one headteacher.

Kieran Heakin, head at St John the Baptist RC Primary School, Burnley, said: “Lollipop men and ladies are invaluable and we would be a bit lost without them.

“As a parent I would worry about my child crossing the road on their own.

"If we are having a problem with recruitment then we may need to raise the age.

“I have spoken to many 80-year-olds who are fit and healthy and who could easily help children across the road.”

County Hall bosses launched a review into the numbers of lollipop men and ladies earlier this year after concerns over future recruitment.

They found that other North West councils have no upper age limits and have found the cash to fund extra insurance costs to cover the over-75s.

The proposals have now been approved by Keith Young, the county council’s education boss.

The first British lollipop lady was introduced in Bath in 1937.

Sixteen years later, they were officially recognised in UK law.