‘It was my life’ - Lollipop lady retires after 45 years serving village school

Former caretaker of Rollesby Primary School reading a book in a classroom.

Barbara Woodrow, 77, has retired after working for 45 years at Rollesby Primary School and Nursery. - Credit: Tracy Guymer

A lollipop lady who worked for 45 years at the same village school has retired, having ushered generations of the same families across a busy road.
Barbara Woodrow, 77, began working at Rollesby Primary School in 1975, when her first job was boiler attendant.
Nowadays the school is heated with gas but back then it was a coal boiler.
Mrs Woodrow even had to keep watch on Christmas Day and Boxing Day to make sure the pipes didn’t freeze.
After three years she took over the role of caretaker.
The school was smaller then, with two indoor and two prefab classrooms, as well as a big hall.
Mrs Woodrow said: “There weren’t many children then in those days, only about 58. Now there’s at least 150.”

A woman receiving a gift from a boy in a classroom.

Barbara Woodrow, 77, has retired after working for 45 years at Rollesby Primary School and Nursery. - Credit: Tracy Guymer

She was caretaker for 18 years and in the 1990s the school won an award for cleanliness.  
“That was lovely,” said Mrs Woodrow.
In the meantime, she had also become the school’s lollipop lady.  
”I would have still been there now if it hadn’t had been for my hip,” she said.
She enjoyed helping the children and towards the end of her working life, she was seeing the offspring of parents she had once helped cross the road when they were boys and girls themselves.
“The school was my life,” said Mrs Woodrow.
It was rewarding, knowing the children were safe, because the road, the A149, is very dangerous, she added.  
Not only did Mrs Woodrow dedicate her working hours to the school, over the last four decades she also raised £50,000 through charitable events including car boot sales, bingo at Christmas and Easter, and several walks around Winterton, Martham and Somerton.
Mrs Woodrow is originally from Hemsby and moved to Rollesby in 1963.
The school held a retirement afternoon tea where she was presented with gifts from the pupils, parents, staff and governors, as well as watching a whole school ‘goodbye’ video prepared by teacher Sophie Durrant.
Tracy Guymer, school secretary, said: “Barbara worked tirelessly throughout her career, diligently keeping the school clean and making sure the children and families crossed the busy A149 through Rollesby safely.   
“The school is truly grateful to her for everything she has done and she will be greatly missed by the whole school community.”

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