A DAD who was horrifically injured as a boy after he was run over by a car is now helping to keep children safe as a lollipop man on the same road over half a century later.
Pete Burling was just 11 in 1966 when he was involved in a horrific accident which left him in a coma for several weeks during which time he missed his 12th birthday.
Doctors did not expect the youngster to survive his injuries, and even pronounced him dead after his heart stopped beating. But Pete, who also broke both his legs, defied the odds to pull through and went on to make a miraculous recovery.
Now aged 65, Pete works for Sandwell Council as a crossing patrol warden just yards from the very spot where he was almost killed, helping schoolchildren and parents cross the road in Oldbury, West Midlands.
Pete, who previously worked as a plumber, said he decided to make the switch to lollipop man after retirement to give back something to his community.
He said: ‘Once I’d retired as a plumber it allowed me the time to give something back to the local community.
‘Come rain or shine it’s a joy to see the children and to make sure along with their parents they are safe when crossing such a busy road, as I know only too well how dangerous it can be.
Pete said he wanted to become a lollipop man on the dangerous road to prevent a similar accident to the one that — at one point — saw him declared dead.
Of his accident 53 years ago, Pete, who has been married to primary school worker Janet for 64 years and has two children, aged 37 and 34, and a grandson, aged 13, said: ‘I was very lucky really.
‘I was put in the ambulance dead. What I have been told was that my heart had stopped, but in the ambulance it started beating again.
‘I was in a coma for six weeks. I missed my 12th birthday but when I came around I was pretty chirpy in hospital.’
Of his new chosen career, he added: ‘You get so much joy when you are helping the children. They really show their gratitude. At Christmas they give me cards, chocolates and bottles of wine.
‘It’s a terrible road for kids and I’m glad I can help out there to try and make sure nothing similar to my accident happens there again.
‘I suppose its quite fitting. It doesn’t bother me to see the place I had my accident, as long as the children are safe that’s the main thing.’