The first lollipop ladies to be sponsored by a national brand begin work this week.

TalkTalk is sponsoring school crossing patrols in Houghton Regis and Filtwick, Bedfordshire, to promote HomeSafe, the UK’s only network-level service that allows parents to control what their children can access online.

Lollipop ladies Bridgett Lanceley (63) and Joan Parker (60) are the first to be sponsored by the broadband firm. Both women have been recognised for their long service, 27 and 16 years respectively, and Bridgett was invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party in 2010.

Bridgett said: "It’s great that TalkTalk have secured the future of these school crossing patrols. Parents and children have already asked me about the logo on my uniform. I really hope that other businesses are compelled to sponsor school crossing patrols and protect children in the same way."

Tristia Clarke, Commercial Director at TalkTalk, said: “Helping to keep kids safe when crossing the road is a natural extension of helping keep them safe online. I’ve always believed that creating a safer online environment for children is just like the Green Cross Code where everyone needs to play a part.

"As a broadband provider, we feel it is our responsibility to help protect children online."

School crossing patrols have come under increasing funding pressure across the country but according to the Department for Transport, around four million schoolchildren, accompanied or on their own, walk or cycle to school in Britain every day. Last year, 3,612 road accidents were reported, with 60 per cent of these involving children under ten.

Diane Hinde, road risk adviser at Central Bedfordshire Council, added: "We are grateful for TalkTalk’s commitment to safeguarding the future of school crossing patrols".

TalkTalk’s unique, award-winning HomeSafe service, which is free to all customers, is a simple tool that helps parents keep their children safer online. It can block access to  content including pornography, gambling and violence.

This is done at a network level, so the content is blocked on all devices, including games consoles, smartphones and tablet computers. So far more than 385,000 customers have activated HomeSafe and the number one category parents are choosing to block is suicide and self-harm websites.