A group of young friends from Bassetts Farm Primary School have successfully campaigned for a new road crossing after one of them was hit by a car.

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Mitchell Cook, nine, Phoebe Connor, 10, and Toby Hill, 10, were walking to school on Monday last week, when Mitchell collided with a car while trying to cross Dinan Way.

The accident left Mitchell hospitalised, and while he recovered Phoebe and Toby decided that they would start a petition to have a safer crossing installed on the road.

Having canvassed their classmates, businesses and members of the public, they managed to collect more than 1,000 signatures in less than a week.

Phoebe and Toby, along with Mitchell, who is now out of hospital, then handed their petition to county councillor Brenda Taylor, who was able to give them the good news that a puffin crossing for Dinan Way had been approved by Devon County Council.

Toby’s dad Aaron Hill said: “They’ve been round all the housing estates. Saturday afternoon they were in Exmouth town centre getting people who went past, and went to several shops in the town. Bassetts Farm School and Pre-school have helped, and Liverton Copse Community Centre have had a petition.

“The support has been absolutely brilliant. When they started I thought 250 signatures would be nice. By the end of the first day we were talking about 500, then by the weekend they wanted to get 1,000.

“We’re very proud of what they’ve done. I just followed them to make sure they were alright, but I stood back and let them do it, as it’s their project for the benefit of them and their friends.”

The children were delighted that the crossing had been approved, and said they would like to thank all the people who supported their petition, with special thanks to those people and businesses that petitioned on their behalf.

Cllr Taylor said: “I think it’s really good that the youngsters have taken the initiative to collect all these signatures, and I’m really pleased that a crossing has been approved by the HATOC East Devon Highways Committee.”

The new crossing will be installed on Dinan Way just south of the junction with Cheshire Road, and should be completed by spring 2013.

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