Pupils celebrate lollipop ladies as they clock up 65 years of crossing patrols

Pat Gurney and Joan Loft at Wootton Lower School.
Pat Gurney and Joan Loft at Wootton Lower School.

Staff and pupils from Wootton Lower School have said a big thank you to their two long-serving lollipop ladies.

Joan Loft has clocked up an amazing 40 years of service, and Pat Gurney an impressive 25 years in their roles as school crossing patrols.

A special assembly on Tuesday, September 16, attended by the reception class and all four year groups celebrated the contribution of two of the school’s hard working and most well-known characters.

Happy mum of five Joan, who received a commemorative certificate, an engraved vase and flowers, said: “It was lovely. Everyone gave us a clap - it’s something to remember.

“I went to Bedford council in the 1950s and asked for them for a job as a lollipop lady as I always wanted to be one. I haven’t regretted it for one second. I have loved doing the job since day one and I’m still enjoying it. One of the biggest differences is there are a lot more cars on the road nowadays. All the children are very polite. It’s a real pleasure to see so many smiling faces when I help people across the road. And I always get a wave from the bus drivers!”

Pat added: “We’ve seen some funny things over the years like people shaving and driving in their cars but it’s difficult to say something to them at the speed they go past.”

Deputy Mayor of Bedford, Cllr Charles Royden, was there to help mark the milestones with 79-year-old Joan and Pat, 67, who both live in Wootton.

Cllr Royden said: “Every day, through all kinds of weather, rain or shine, hot or cold, our school crossing patrols carry out their duties and dedicate themselves to the safety of our children. We owe Pat and Joan a huge debt of gratitude and these ladies deserve our special thanks after 25 years and 40 years of committed public service.”

Wootton Lower School headteacher Chris Tavener said: “Joan’s length of service is amazing and Pat’s 25 years is a huge achievement. Joan has helped three generations of some families cross the road in her time.

“Throughout all weathers, they help the children safely cross the road, always meeting children and parents with friendly, smiling faces. A few of the children at the assembly saw the presentation and burst into tears as they thought they were leaving - but were very happy when told they weren’t.”

Joan added: “Let’s hope we can do the job for the next 40 years - for both our sakes!”