Lollipop lady retires after St Andrew’s service

AT a time in life when many people are pleased to put their feet up, Barbara Hatt has been happily helping children get safely to school in Great Yarmouth.

But now, after more than two decades as a lollipop lady at Northgate St Andrews First School, 84-year-old Mrs Hatt is reluctantly retiring from her job.

A special assembly is being held today to pay tribute to the much-loved great-grandmother who has worked on the crossing patrol since 1987.

She has been a friendly and familiar face to hundreds of pupils over the years, several of who now have children of their own at the Northgate Street school.

Mrs Hatt, who is one of Britain’s oldest lollipop ladies, finally decided to retire after fracturing her hip in a fall earlier this year.

Out in all weathers, she has braved the elements and bad drivers with patience and good humour.

“I have enjoyed everything really, the children give me hugs and kisses in the morning and the parents are wonderful to me,” said Mrs Hatt.

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“The teachers are marvellous too and if there is ever a special event I am always invited. It has been a pleasure to work here – I think this is the best school in Yarmouth.

“I have been out in all weather, but the fresh air has done me good. It is very rare that I am sick or catch a cold. I fell over a few weeks ago when a gust of wind caught me and spun me round and the snow and ice doesn’t help.

“Drivers can be impatient, but it is no good losing your temper. I never swear, I’ve shouted a few times, but never been abusive.”

She added: “I am going to feel sad and tearful leaving. They will need to get the buckets out. I hope to keep my mind occupied when I retire. I like to keep active.”

Husband Clifford, 82, is also retiring as crossing patrolman at Alderman Swindell School. The couple, who live in Beatty Road, celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary earlier this year and are soon to become great-great grandparents.

Headteacher Lindsay Hanger said: “Mrs Hatt has done a marvellous job, she is such a popular lady and the children think the world of her.

“We are holding a special assembly and have been making a memory book for the last two or three weeks. There are several parents who were here as children and remember Mrs Hatt from their time at school coming to say a few words.

“We are worried there won’t be a crossing lady when she has finished.”

l Another dedicated lollipop lady was celebrating her 70th birthday this week with staff, pupils and parents at a Bradwell school. Mary Clarke, who works on the crossing patrol at Homefield Primary, was surprised to discover her stick had been specially decorated when she arrived at school on Tuesday.

Alison Quantrill, whose children Alicia and Lewis attend the school, said: “Mary is more than just a lollipop lady. She helps in school with reading, attends assembly, walks the children to church, helps with the choir and on school outings. She is a very special lady, always smiling and loved by the children.”