A school crossing lady who has helped three generations of children across the road has celebrated her 45th year of service.
Mary Fisher, 85, has stood at Summerbridge Primary School since 1975 – and says that not one day has gone by that she was not excited about her job.
Mary helped her children and their friends across the road, and then their children and now some of their children after that. She was persuaded by the local policeman to take on the role of crossing patrol.
She said: “I knew the crossing lady was retiring because my children went to the school. I’d been asked if I wanted to do it, but always said no. Then one day I bumped into the policeman at the local shop and he told me he’d be round to my house in a couple of minutes.
“He said ‘Mary, what about this crossing lady job?’ and I said I’d give it a try. I never imagined I’d still be doing it 45 years later. But I’ve loved every minute of it for the entire 45 years.”
Mary also worked as a carer for more than 30 years, retiring in her 60s and being asked to go back for an additional 20 months.
She said: “I’d get up in the morning and go to my caring job, before coming back and getting changed and going out to be a crossing lady. I did that for many years and I enjoyed it.
“One of the best parts of the job is that everyone recognises you – everyone always waves at me.
“I love being outside and active as well. I have to be out and about rather than sat inside. Not a day goes by where I think I don’t want to get up today and do it.
“Once or twice over my career the school have called me and said it’s too icy or cold to come in and they try and look after me, but I always want to be out and about.
“When my husband died, I was more or less straight back at work. It was so sad when it happened and I miss him a lot still, but you have to keep getting on with it. I didn’t want to sit in a corner and brew.”
But the best part of the job for Mary is the people.
She said: “Everyone comes across the crossing, so many people recognise you and wave. It’s lovely to see the different generations of children coming through, too – all the parents I knew have grandchildren now.
“The community thinks the world of us lollipop ladies and the job we do and every day is different and every day is happy.”
Nick Coates, Headteacher at Summerbridge Primary School, said: “From a school perspective, Mary needs little in the way of introduction. She has, as we all know, been a treasured member of our community for generations and has ensured the safe crossing of the busy road for hundreds of children.
“Not only does Mary ensure that everyone is safe, but she always has a kind word for the children and a wise word for the parents, many of whom she has known for all of their lives, too.
“Mary's dedication to her job has been quite unbelievable. Come rain or shine, freezing cold or scorching hot, Mary is always ready for action, lollipop in hand!
“Even lockdown didn't make her consider for one second retiring. She literally raced out of her house to be back on the roadside just as soon as she was allowed. There is simply no stopping this irrepressible lollipop legend, and for that, we are eternally grateful.”
County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said: “Mary and her service to the community over the past 45 years is something to be applauded.
“We want to say thank you for her commitment to keeping children safe, come what may. She has done an excellent job over the past four decades and will continue to do so.
“Thank you Mary, for being a key member of Team North Yorkshire.”