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Campaigning girls call for streetlamp to make footpath safer
PUPILS from Didcot Girls’ School have highlighted the dangers of walking and cycling on an unlit footpath on the edge of town.
They are following in the footsteps of pupils who previously have campaigned for their citizenship projects for pedestrian crossings near the Manor Crescent school.
Now the latest group of girls is fighting for a new streetlamp on a path between Didcot and East Hagbourne.
Headteacher Rachael Warwick said: “The work the girls do on these citizenship projects ties in with David Cameron’s ideas about the Big Society. Increasingly they are choosing campaigns that affect the community.
“They meet local politicians and are genuinely successful with a lot of what they are trying to achieve.”
Izzie Cheshire, 15, of Didcot, said: “The path stretches for 1km from Didcot into East Hagbourne and at the moment there is no street lighting. This means it is pitch black at night, especially during the winter.
“We started this campaign because we felt travelling along the path in the dark is extremely hazardous for the many people in the community who use it, because they could trip over, be hit by a cyclist, or even be attacked.
“It is especially dangerous for the many young schoolchildren who walk to and from school along the track.
“We think there should be a streetlamp at the crossroads so there is a lit route from Harwood Road into Green Close.”
The pupils have launched a Facebook page called Implementing street lamps in East Hagbourne.
Other girls taking part are Lauren Aldridge, 14, from Milton, Jessie Morrison, 14, from Rowstock, Eleanor Peers, 14, from Didcot, and Paige McConville, 14, from East Hagbourne.
Patrick Greene, the county councillor for the Moreton division who met the girls last week to discuss their campaign, said he thought the girls’ suggestion for new lighting was “sensible”.
He added that several new solar lamps could be required but said no funding for the project was available before the new financial year begins next month.
He estimated a new street lamp could cost about £1,000.
Oxfordshire County Council refused to comment on the girls’ campaign.
Last year, plans were finalised for two new crossings near the school after more than £40,000 of funding was agreed by county councillors.
Pupils helped to campaign for the Wantage Road zebra crossing to become traffic light-controlled, and about £10,000 has been allocated, while about £30,000 is to be spent on a new crossing in Foxhall Road.
Work has started on improvements at the Wantage Road crossing and is expected to start later this month in Foxhall Road.
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