On a busy Ellon road, where lollipop man Dave Dawson once stood, a lone memorial bench serves as a lasting reminder to the man who helped hundreds of Auchterellon pupils arrive safely at school.
As part of A Place to Remember, telling the stories of those named on north-east memorial benches, Dave’s daughter pays tribute to her her dad, who donned his yellow jacket every school day for 17 years.
A new life in Scotland
David Kenneth Dawson – better known as Dave – was born on March 11 1947 in Congleton, Cheshire.
Son of Hannah and Kenneth Dawson, he moved around a lot in childhood due to his dad being in the army. The family lived in Hong Kong for a time before returning to the UK.
On leaving school Dave became a welder fabricator. It was a skill that brought him to the north-east of Scotland to work offshore.
In the early 1980s, with two sons from a previous relationship, Dave met Patricia Bowie from Elgin. The mum-of-two was attending the same dance in the Buchan Hotel, Ellon.
Bringing their families together, the couple got married in 1983 and soon welcomed a daughter together, Louise.
Change of pace
Strenuous work, Davie had to retire from welding due to multiple heart attacks followed by a brain aneurism.
As someone who had worked all his life he was desperate to find something else to fill his time. When the opportunity arose to become lollipop man for Auchterellon Primary in Ellon he jumped at the chance.
Davie started helping children safely cross Millwood road in Ellon in the early 2000s, and continued for 17 years each day of the school term.
Louise said: “His favourite part was handing out fudge to the kids. He just loved his job.”
Sit a while
To help him fulfil his role a bench was provided near to the spot where he stood each day.
“At the start of the day and as the kids left school dad was always busy,” Louise added. “But at lunchtimes it was much quieter which is when he would sit on his bench.”
In 2015 both Davie and wife Patricia were diagnosed with cancer. A difficult time for the family, everyone was pleased when they came through their illnesses.
“Typical home buddies,” loving to be together and spending time with their children and 11 grandchildren, their fortunes seemed to have turned in their favour.
Patricia retired in 2018 but Davie was able to keep doing the job he loved.
Wearing his Santa hat each day and spreading festive cheer he was still on duty in December 2021 when the schools broke up for the Christmas holidays.
Sadly, in January 2022, the day he was set to due to pick up his lollipop stick again, he was given the devastating news that his cancer had returned.
“We got the diagnosis and began preparing ourselves for what lay ahead in terms of his options. But then they told him it was terminal.
“At that point he just refused treatment. Two days later he was gone.”
Davie passed away on February 11 2022.
A place to remember
Now, nearly two years on, his bench still stands as a reminder to the man who was once a fixture of daily life in Ellon.
“After he died we were able to get permission to put a plaque on his bench. I can still see him sitting there when I drive by.”
Last year Louise added her dad’s Santa hat as a reminder of how much he loved the festive period, and a windmill from his garden also adds to the memorial bench.
“He loved his job, and he loved bringing a bit of happiness to the kids. We miss him so much,” said Louise. “Had he not been unwell he’d be standing there now in a red hat handing sweets out to the kids.”
- You can read more heart-warming “A Place to Remember” stories here.