Lollipop lady Irene is longest serving in Britain

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A Longridge lollipop lady has become the longest serving crossing patroller in Britain.

Irene Reid, 77, is still top of the lollipops after almost five decades of helping school pupils and has clocked-up 3,500 miles crossing roads.

Irene Reid from Longridge is Britain's longest-serving lollipop lady.

Irene Reid from Longridge is Britain's longest-serving lollipop lady.

It is estimated Irene has ferried pupils across the road 1.3 millio times.

Irene, who was given an MBE for her services in 2012, is now eyeing up half-a-century after first donning her hi-vis jacket and lollipop as a 28-year-old in March 1968.

The great-gran has helped children and parents walk across the road from Berry Lane outside Longridge Church of England Primary School.

Irene said: “I’m not retiring anytime soon - they will have to wrench that lollipop out of my hands before I retire. I’m just six months away from 50 years and I see no reason to sit home or to stop doing it.”

Irene, who has lived in Longridge all of her life, was presented with a bottle of fizz and a bouquet of flowers at the start of the school term.

She said: “I feel really honoured that most the kids that I crossover still remember me.

“I have been crossing children over for years and now I’m crossing over some of the grandmothers.

“I think when children first start school lollipop men and ladies are the first person they see. I’m not a teacher or official - so it’s nice to have someone who says ‘hello’ and ‘how are you’.

“It’s nice to see what they have done with their lives for theones who live away.”

The school’s deputy headteacher Catherine Parkin said: “It’s not just the length of the service that deserves recognition - it’s also the wider commitment to the children and families.

“It’s the relationship with not just the children but the families as well which makes her special.

“She knows every child by name and knows the road the children take home.

“Irene even remembers the children who left the school and keep in contact with them on their secondary school journeys to make sure they are safe.”

A spokesperson for the school added: “We’re really proud that Irene is ours and she is the best.

“She will continue to be our lollipop lady for years to come.”

A spokesman for Ribble Valley Police said: “It has come to our attention that Longridge lollipop lady Irene Reid has reached her 49th year helping our residents get across the road safely at peak times of the day.

“Well done Irene and thank you for your continued support.”

Irene pips Margaret Cattle, 69, to the title who had spent 45 years as a lollipop lady near Hull, East Yorks., before retiring in March of this year.