A CROSSING warden is hanging up her lollipop after helping thousands of children get to and from a Chard school.

Susan Smith, 58, of Victoria Avenue, Chard, has been patrolling outside Avishayes Primary School, off Fairway Rise, for 16 years.

Staff and children, many of whom have been helped across the road by Mrs Smith since they first joined the school, gave her presents on her final day last Wednesday.

Mrs Smith said: “Both my children went to Avishayes and I used to help in school, voluntarily and as a dinner lady.

“When the previous lollipop lady was ill I said I would do it until she came back, and that was 16 years ago.”

Mrs Smith has hardened herself against all the elements Mother Nature has thrown at her, and she said heavy fog and ice made the school run most tricky.

She said: “I have really enjoyed doing it. I just enjoy being with the children in all winds and weather – it didn’t matter to me whether it’s helping parents down the hill when it’s really icy, even though you’ve thrown a load of grit down. or when you’re sweltering in the summer with your big coat, I loved it.

“It was nice to receive presents and flowers, and you can see where the appreciation was.”

Mrs Smith’s children are Victoria and Timothy, and she has two grandchildren – Abigail, who has just started at Avishayes Primary School, and Alexander, who she hopes will start at the school soon.

She hopes to be able to continue as a volunteer at the school if needed, and said if the opportunity came up to work at another school she would consider it.

In July last year, a 90-year-old school crossing warden, thought to be the UK's oldest, retired from a school in Buckinghamshire.

In Avishayes Primary School’s newsletter they said: “We would like to thank Sue for all her help keeping the children safe on the school crossing.

“She has been with the school for many years and helped lots of children cross the road.

“She will be missed by the children and staff.”