One of Horsham’s longest-serving lollipop ladies celebrated 40 years of service to the town’s schools this morning (Tuesday December 3).
Mary Nye, 79, is ‘like a grandmother’ to the children at Holbrook Primary School, according to head teacher Deborah Moss.
The head teacher said: “She is like a grandmother to all the children, and her major focus is keeping them safe and secure on their journey to and from school.
“She is a huge asset to the whole Holbrook community.”
Mary was lulled to an assembly at the Horsham school under false pretences, and was shocked when pupils surprised her with flowers, a balloon, a cake and a special trophy thanking her for her years of service.
She said: “I didn’t realise it was that long - in fact I wasn’t sure how long it was.
“It was a bit of a shock and I have not really got over it - I thought I was just coming in and watching as I sometimes do.
“I have stood out there in the rain with an umbrella and thought ‘why am I doing this?’ I don’t know why!”
Mary lives in Horsham and currently helps Holbrook’s pupils cross the busy North Heath Lane.
She has helped other Horsham schools in the 40 years, including Greenway, Trafalgar and St. John’s.
She added: “People say the weather’s bad but it is not many days that we really have bad weather - I think snow is the worst.
“I love doing it because it gets me motivated every day, and the children are very polite here.”
Mary said that working with children for so long was one of the best parts of the job.
She also explained how she has helped two generations from the same family cross the road - and that is the case with Sandra Alford, a teaching assistant at Holbrook.
Sandra remembers Mary helping her when she was a pupil at Greenway, and Mary has helped her children safely cross the road too.
She said: “She is my lollipop lady - that is how I think of her.
“She is brilliant at always looking out for the children’s safety first, and is one of those people who hasn’t changed.”