‘Lollipop’ duo to bow out after more than half a century of service
Two school crossing patrols in the North East of England are celebrating their retirement, after careers spanning a combined total of 55 years.
74-year-old Thora Muir (top left) and 80-year-old Jim Armstrong, both from County Durham, are hanging up their fluorescent gear after 35 and 20 years respectively.
Thora spent 31 years at Cotsford Infant School at Horden, from January 1982, before moving to the community's Yohden Primary in July 2013.
Jim, Durham County Council’s oldest SCP, has been based at Seaview Primary School on The Avenue in Seaham since 1996.
Special assemblies have been held at both schools to thank the pair and wish them a long and happy retirement.
Pupils and teachers from Cotsford Nursery, Cotsford Infants and Yohden Primary presented Thora with flowers, gifts and cards, while she was also given a certificate of appreciation for her 35 years' service by the council’s road safety manager Paul Watson.
Thora said: “The weather hasn't always been great but the smiles and 'hellos' you get from the children and their mums and dads makes it all worthwhile. It was lovely to attend the assembly and very emotional to say goodbye to everyone.”
At Seaview Primary, photos were shown of pupils with messages they had written for Jim, while a poem penned by one student and dedicated to the retiree was read out. Jim was also presented with a certificate by Mr Watson before the assembly concluded with pupils dedicating the Bruno Mars song ‘Count on Me’ to him.
Jim (left) said: “It's a really difficult thing to retire but I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone I've got to know over the years. I'll really miss them all.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my 20 years as a 'lollipop man.' I've got to know so many children, parents and members of staff in this time and loved chatting to them all on a daily basis.”
Paying tribute to them both, John Reed, Durham County Council’s head of technical services, said: “First and foremost, I'd like to thank Thora and Jim for their excellent service. You only had to be at the assemblies to appreciate the affection in which they were held and how much they'll be missed.
“I think they'd both agree being a 'lollipop' man or a woman is a highly rewarding job with the bonds you build with children, parents and teachers.”
Want to know more about the SCP service and road safety?
Online library of research and reports etc - visit the Road Safety Knowledge Centre
Key facts and summaries of research reports (children) - visit the Road Safety Observatory