One of Hounslow's longest-serving lollipop ladies has urged people to step forward and fill the vacant positions which are putting children's lives at risk.
Edna Scott retired last winter after 37 years helping youngsters cross the road to Chatsworth Infant & Nursery School in Hounslow.
The 69-year-old, of Argyle Avenue, Hounslow, said she couldn't understand why the borough - like councils across the country - is finding it so hard to replace people like her.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a lollipop lady and it became a way of life," she told the Chronicle. "You're responsible for looking after the children but they give you so much back. They would come up and hug me on a daily basis.
"I'd encourage anyone with a few hours to spare who wants a little job to tide them over and keep them busy. It gives you so much pleasure, it's barely a job at all."
The national shortage of lollipop people has been largely blamed on the poor pay and inconvenient hours, coupled with a change in the benefits system meaning staff often earn little more than they would staying at home.
Hounslow Council employs 20 lollipop men and women at schools across the borough but has struggled to recruit staff at another six schools since 2000.
The familiar yellow stick has not been seen outside Beavers Community, Hounslow Town, Marlborough, Norwood Green, Our Lady & St John's and St Michael & St Martin primary schools for some time.
Leaders sparked fury earlier this year by scrapping all vacancies, claiming they were almost impossible to fill, but they have since relented and are now advertising four jobs online.
A council spokeswoman said: "Councils all over the country struggle from time to time trying to recruit school crossing patrol officers.
"We are committed to keeping children as safe as possible on their journeys to and from school."
No qualifications are needed to become a lollipop person and you can earn £8.46 an hour in Hounslow for working from 8.15-9.15am and 3-4pm during term time.
* If you're interested in becoming a lollipop lady or man, visit www.hounslow.gov.uk/jobs