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Exclusive: Jeff Brazier on going back to school and dealing with the difficult teenage years

Jack White

As a dad-of-two, visits to school are regular part of Jeff Brazier's life. But he recently got the chance to go further than the daily drop off when he was invited back to his primary school for a very good cause.

Presenter and life coach Jeff, 37, has teamed up with Churchill to highlight the importance of lollipoppers during busy school times – and got the chance to take a trip down memory lane when he spent some time 'working the roads'.

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Speaking exclusively to HELLO! Online, Jeff explains: "It was fascinating to go back to my old school and just to have a look around to see what's changed and what's stayed the same. I have really fond memories of junior school, and they all came flooding back. It's really strange how something simple like seeing the spot where they used to put the football squad list took me back 25 plus years."

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Jeff Brazier 'worked the roads' to raise awareness of the importance of lollipoppers

But Jeff's visit was about something more important than nostalgia and he worked with lollipop lady Irene to find out just how much goes into the job.

He continues: "55 per cent of road traffic accidents happen during the school run. You can imagine that if you've got the combination of a lollipopper helping your kids cross the road and motorists who are respectful of the fact it's a sensitive area, as a parent it gives you a much greater peace of mind.

"One thing that became apparent during my time with Irene was that she is so appreciated by the parents and so highly regarded. I can imagine that it's really wonderful for her to have such a sense of purpose and satisfaction from her job in retirement. She took it so seriously, but rightly so, and the last thing she would ever allow is for someone to be hurt while crossing her road."

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Jeff with girlfriend Kate Dwyer and Bobby and Freddy

Jeff is dad to sons Bobby, 13, and 11-year-old Freddy, from his relationship with the late Jade Goody, and, fortunately for him, they both love school. But, like many siblings, they're very different people.

"I think Bobby will end up getting into presenting or modelling," Jeff says. "But Freddy is really interested in how I help people with life coaching. A recent example of this was when he was upset at the prospect of doing the school play. But once he'd calmed down and really thought about it, Fred realised he was actually upset about something specific: it wasn't the play but the thought of having the microphone on when he was singing.

"So he worked out that if he went to the teacher and asked for a compromise, he would be fine with acting and being up on stage. Coaching is about breaking down the problem and finding solutions, and Freddy being good at making himself – and other people feel better – for me is really valuable."


Jeff is calling for more lollipoppers and for motorists to take more care on school roads

While Freddy has yet to get there, Bobby is already experiences the trials and tribulations we go through as teenagers – something which Jeff is still working out how to deal with.

He says: "I'm experiencing it now with Bobby. There are times when he has a problem and he's stressed about it but he just doesn't have the words to communicate it, so it just ends up as frustration. What generally happens is, as the parent, it becomes your fault, and even more so if you try and tell them what to do. And it can become even more your fault if you try and show an interest in the situation."

Although it can take while, Jeff knows that by letting his kids know he is there for them no matter what, they'll come to him eventually. He adds: "We need to make sure we don't wade in with judgement and opinions. You'll very often get that moment when the floodgates open and all of a sudden they'll tell you everything. You're there to catch them when they fall."

Jeff Brazier went back to school with Churchill Insurance as part of its initiative to stop the decline in Lollipoppers on school crossings throughout the UK. For more information and to find out how you can become a Lollipopper, click here, and join the conversation on Twitter using #Lollipoppers @ChurchillTheDog.

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