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Great-gran Jan is top of the lollipops

Janet Gillgrass is the winner of the Blackpool Gazette Lollipop Person of the Year competition, nominated by her grandaughter Rebecca Thomas-Reid, ten, right.

Janet Gillgrass is the winner of the Blackpool Gazette Lollipop Person of the Year competition, nominated by her grandaughter Rebecca Thomas-Reid, ten, right.

A great-grandmother has been crowned the region’s top lollipop lady after spending more than 30 years helping children to cross the road.

Janet Gillgrass, 77, scooped the title after her granddaughter Rebecca Thomas-Reid entered her into The Gazette’s Lollipop Person of the Year Award.

Janet, who has five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, lives in Ribby Road, Kirkham and works at The Willows Primary School, a position she has held for 31 years.

She said: “It’s wonderful to win the award. It gets me up early in the morning. The weather has been lovely this last couple of weeks. It keeps me fit and I love my work. I do not want to retire. I am still too young to sit all day in the house not seeing anybody.

“I have made many good friends over the years and value their friendship.”

Janet’s day starts at 8.30am, where she helps schoolchildren cross Ribby Road, a busy route near to several schools, including Kirkham Grammar School.

At noon she goes back out to help children cross the street, before a further shift after school from 
3.30pm to 4.15pm.

Amazingly, her work does not stop there, as she goes into the school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings to help children with their reading.

Rebecca, a pupil at St Michael’s School in Kirkham, said she was pleased her hard-working grandma had won the award.

She added: “I am very proud of her. She is very kind and generous. She smiles and is happy. She makes sure to speak to all the parents.

“She is wonderful person - she is just a star.”

Rebecca’s mum Fiona Thomas, Janet’s daughter, said she was delighted her mother had been recognised by The Gazette in what at times can be a dangerous job.

She added: “She had a really bad accident a few years ago where a car hit her and chucked her up in the air - she had very bad bruising from it.

“She does love the job though. I guess the accidents come with the territory. I do not know how she can step out on Ribby Road, a main road into Kirkham with so many schools and traffic - but she has done it a long time and has the experience.”

As part of the nomination, Rebecca, a keen swimmer, was given an annual pass to the Sandcastle Water Park in Blackpool.

 

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