A lollipop lady in Berkhamsted has been described as 'a smiling ray of sunshine' as she celebrates 40 years.
Affectionately known as ‘Carole Lollipop’ to the children of Swing Gate Lane Infant and Nursery School in Berkhamsted, Carole was one of the finalists in the Independent on Sunday’s first ever Happy List in 2008.
The list, which celebrates 'truly inspiring and previously unsung people' who have enriched their communities, praised Carole’s dedicated service to her school, including giving each of the children she saw across the road a birthday present and handmade card.
More than a decade later and Carole is still lighting up the lives of the pupils every day as a School Crossing Patrol officer for Hertfordshire County Council, even buying every child at the school a lollipop in celebration of her 40-year anniversary.
Carole said: “They all got a lollipop – I was allowed to give them 160 lollipops - I was searching everywhere for lollipops! They are so lovely to me – I’m known as Carole Lollipop.”
Commenting on what she loves about her job and encouraging others to follow her lead, she said: “Children, the people, the friendliness of people, I just love it. I love it I really do, that’s why I’ve been here for 40 years.
“If you like children, do it, because it’s so enjoyable. it’s so friendly and nice, it’s lovely, it really is. Everybody’s so nice to me.
"On 28th April, they gave me the most wonderful assembly, loads of presents. Parents paid for me to go in this wonderful taxi up to Ashridge House for a cream tea, so it’s just been lovely.”
Carole said the highlights of her career have included being voted as Dacorum’s Lollipop Lady of the Year, being in The Independent on Sunday as one of the 100 happiest people on the Happy List and having a celebration assembly on every big anniversary.
Staff, children and parents, along with representatives from Hertfordshire County Council, honoured Carole with a virtual, COVID-safe assembly for her 40 years, describing her as “kind, caring and cheerful - a smiling ray of sunshine”.
At Carole’s assembly was surprise guest, 46-year-old Paul Allen, who attended the school in 1981 when Carole first started in her role. She now greets his son Elwood each morning to help him to cross the same roads safely.
Francesca Gallagher, Headteacher of Swing Gate Infant and Nursery School said: “We are delighted to have such a wonderful lollipop lady keeping our children safe across Swing Gate Lane.
"She is a ray of sunshine even on the wettest days and loved by the whole school community.”
The celebration was held on the run-up to the UK’s national Walk to School Week being held from 17-21 May, encouraging walking, scooting and cycling to school, all helped by the essential work of School Crossing Patrols like Carole.
Anyone interested in becoming a School Crossing Patrol in Hertfordshire should contact the Active and Safer Travel Team on 01992 556816 or email: [email protected].