'THE best lollipop man on the planet' has been awarded with a BBC Christmas Star award.

Sale Grammar School's lollipop man, John Astley has been a lollipop man for 17 years and last week was awarded for his hard work and dedication.

BBC North West Tonight started an appeal to invite communities to nominate anyone they know that is kind and thoughtful and Sale Grammar School nominated John.

On December 1, John believed he was completing filming for the BBC on road safety and was invited to the school hall to do a talk. Mid-talk/lollipop air-guitar John was surprised by teacher at the school, Zoey Alderson-Robb who with a small mishap presented him with the award.

The video by the BBC went on our screens on Tuesday December 5 and has almost 2,000 likes and 100,000 views on Facebook.

John, aged 65, said: "I'm so proud to win the award - I never expected it. I just went to work to do my job - I was so surprised.

"The interaction I get with the children is great and such fun, we tell each other jokes. I've got to know all the staff over the years and made friends. I've seen so many children some and go from the school who are all adults now.

"I hope that the children look back in the future and say, 'do you remember that funny lollipop man we used to have'"

Mark Smallwood, Headteacher at the school said: "All there is to say is that he is the best lollipop man in the world. He has been a lollipop man here for as long as I know - he safely sees our children across the road but in a real friendly way and has a laugh with them - he shows a real interest in the children and they all enjoy his jokes."

Locals also took to social media to comment on the award. One lady said: "So pleased for John such a lovely guy - wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t get a wave from him every day."

Another commented: "My daughter, now 28 went to sale grammar never a day without a smile. Such an amazing lovely man."