ALISON Brough, who fought to get changes to a new road to protect her school playing field, looks back with pride at her “five minutes of fame”.

The 10-year-old schoolgirl was incensed in 1968 when she heard that the new Marston Ferry Road between Marston and North Oxford would take part of the grounds of St Nicholas Primary School at Old Marston.

She organised a petition and managed to get the route altered to reduce the impact on the school.

Today, nearly 50 years later, Alison, now Allie Noel, reflects with satisfaction what her youthful rebellion achieved.

She tells me: “It was just an idea which grew like Topsy. One of our neighbours worked in the planning office and suggested writing to Barbara Castle, the Transport Minister. It was very exciting. We set up a desk outside the entrance to our class and got pupils to sign the petition as they came in.”

As we recalled (Memory Lane, September 28), Alison and fellow campaigner Susan Edmonds collected 300 signatures and sent their petition with a letter to the minister.

The young protesters pointed out that the road would split their school field in two, leaving no room for a football pitch in either section, and that the school would lose one of its two playgrounds.

Alison said at the time: “I am not against the road, but I think the route should be altered so that we can keep our playing field.”

Headmaster Peter Jones said: “Alison acted quite spontaneously and without any pressure from the staff.”

Mrs Castle replied saying that the road was not her responsibility, and eventually Alison’s letter arrived on the desk of Oxford City Council engineer Tom Morris, who invited the campaign leaders to the Town Hall.

The delegation – Alison, Susan, Andrew Haynes, David Brown, Janet Moller, Peter Hughes, Gary Kimber and Jacqueline Yardley – discussed the plans with Mr Morris’s chief assistant, John Peverel-Cooper.

The footpath and cycle track were switched from the north side to the south, allowing the road to be moved farther away from the school, and a high bank was built to shield the school from traffic noise.

The protesters were also assured that a new playing field would be found for the school.

The Oxford Mail story describing Alison’s part in the pupils’ protest was spotted by staff at Headington Girls’ School and her leadership credentials helped her win a place there when she left St Nicholas.

Later, she worked in adult education with Oxfordshire County Council, and has just retired as manager of Cutteslowe community centre in Wren Road, North Oxford.

Recently, she helped organise a campaign against litter, graffiti and antisocial behaviour on the estate, and supported plans to extend Sunnymead Park and create an outdoor gym near the A40 footbridge.

She tells me: “I’m still banging on about things!”