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Dedicated lollipop lady Sheila retires after 40 years

Published July 15, 2014 13:16

A long-serving lollipop lady is hanging up her stop sign after four decades of loyal service.

Sheila Gaskell will be helping children from Cassop Primary School in County Durham cross the road for the very last time on Friday (July 18).

She has decided to retire from her important role with the school crossing patrol service, which is run and managed by Durham County Council’s road safety team, after 40 years in the job.

A special presentation will be held at the school on Wednesday (July 16) during afternoon assembly to mark Sheila’s dedicated efforts in making sure children get to and from school safely.

Durham County Council has also awarded Sheila a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of her service to the road safety team

Paul Watson, the council’s road safety manager, said: “Sheila has devoted 40 years of her working life to keeping several generations of children, parents and teachers at Cassop Primary School safe. She is a credit to the service.”

When Sheila first became a lollypop lady in 1974, Franz Beckenbauer’s West Germany beat a Johan Cruyff-inspired Netherlands in the final of the World Cup. The year also saw Britain enter its first post-war recession, the BBC aired children’s TV classic Bagpuss for the first time, the miners’ strike came to an end and McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in the UK.

Great-grandmother Sheila, 71, lives in the village and even attended Cassop Primary School herself before becoming the local lollipop lady.

She said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my job over the years – even being stood outside during the cold winters – but it is now the right time to have some time to myself, and besides the house needs decorating!

“Times have changed a great deal since I first started but the job has pretty much always stayed the same. I have helped different generations of the same family cross the road over the years and have even helped grandchildren and great-grandchildren of people I went to school with – it’s just like a big family.

“I have met many lovely people so I’m sad to be leaving and will miss seeing them every day but my seven-year-old great-grandson goes to the school and my great-granddaughter, who is two, will also be going there in a couple of years so I will still be visiting regularly and seeing all my old friends.

“It was nice to receive the certificate from the council and it made me feel very proud of the work I have put in over the last 40 years.”