Shirley’s been a lollipop lady for 31 years, starting on the Petre Street/Sutherland Road junction before moving to Pitsmoor Road eleven years ago. We went to find out how she felt about her New Year Honour from the Area Panel.
“It was lovely to receive an award. I don’t really like a lot of fuss but it’s really nice to think that people think that much of me.”
When we asked what the hardest bit of the job was, she said:
“You know what that is because you’ve seen me shouting and getting annoyed when you go up to school! Ignorant drivers! I don’t like that bit at all. It can be frightening too – that’s why I don’t wear long johns when I’m working – if there was an accident and I was taken to hospital it wouldn’t be a very nice sight!”
Carrying a lollipop stick has great significance to the job as Shirley explained:
“I didn’t have one when I first came to the Pitsmoor Road crossing. Luckily it had traffic lights, but I felt a lot safer when they eventually gave me my lollipop stick. And when I first got the uniform I felt a bit daft, especially in the hat, but it does mean that people recognise you more easily.”
Recalling a funny moment Shirley told us of one occasion that she rushed an old woman across the road. “It was quite busy and I virtually carried her but when she got to the other side it turned out she didn’t actually want to cross the road at all.”
by Mick Ashman & Louis Ashman
Valerie has been a lollipop lady for over 21 years after being encouraged to apply by a friend.
I asked if she felt the fast moving traffic put her at risk, she said:
“It does seem dangerous, although I’ve had a number of near misses I’ve never been hurt.
“Some drivers do not always notice me, I can report them, but the only problems is that they go so quick there’s no chance of getting their registration plates.There’s definitely more traffic and more children now than in the past.”
We went on to talk about the essential tool of the trade and I asked if she’d ever left her lollipop behind.
“I have never forgotten my lollipop because I usually keep it in Happy Shopper just up the road from the crossing. I’ve had two lollipops in my career as the first one broke.They can get quite heavy on a windy day.”
When I asked if there was anyone in particular she’d like to help across the road she told:
“No one because I like to help everyone cross the road!
“I am very pleased with receiving the New Year’s Honour. I took my husband along to the ceremony and met lots of other people.We really enjoyed it!”
by Andrew Edmondson
It is nineteen years since Susan started her job and she enjoys it every bit as much now as she did then. She told me:
“I just love working with kids, and this is a great way of doing so.”
Susan has experienced many changes to her job since she started, including an increase in the dangers involved.
“The traffic has become a lot busier. Drivers now are not as courteous as they used to be. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t dangerous, because some drivers just don’t take any notice of me or the lights.There have been times when drivers have gone straight through a red light.You do have to be careful.”
Interestingly, she also has not always had one piece of equipment that could be considered essential in her position.
“I didn’t always have a lollipop. For half of my career I was just in a plain white uniform and walked out into the road empty handed. I have only had a lollipop in the last ten years or so.And even that has changed recently. It now just says ‘STOP’ whereas it used to read ‘STOP – CHILDREN’.They’re now collapsible as well, which makes it all much easier. I’ve probably had about five or six in my time; I’ve had quite a few stolen.”
Susan is thrilled to have received a Burngreave New Year’s Honour.
“I was really surprised. It’s lovely. It’s brilliant. It really did feel like you’re being appreciated.”
by Reuben Vincent
If you are interested in taking up vacancies for school crossing patrols, contact Shirley Adams from the Council Education Department on 273 5818 or write to her: School Crossing Patrols, 3rd Floor, Howden House S1 2SH. For a full list of Area Panel award winners – see page 16.