DONNING her yellow jacket for the final time, Bridie Matley MBE has bid a fond farewell to 32 years of early mornings and safe crossings as a school lollipop lady.
Mrs Matley has just retired from working at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary School on Common Edge Road, Marton, after a colourful career.
And although she will no longer be seen in her luminous jacket, she will remain long in children’s memories.
She said: “I’ve only ever worked there so I’m very, very sad. But I’ve had lots of lovely cards and thanks.
“I can’t walk past the school now, it makes me too sad to not be there.
“I’ve seen all sorts of people over the road in my time and seen them all grow up.
“The children have been wonderful, I’ll go back to visit them of course.”
Staff from the school say Mrs Matley gave her all to her job and such was her respect in the community she was nominated for an MBE by one local resident.
She was honoured in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2011 and invited to Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty.
Headteacher Melanie Haggerty said: “We’re very, very sad.
“She is such a central part of our community, everybody knows and loves her. It won’t be the same without her. We were laughing that she has not only seen children become parents themselves, but some become grandparents too.”
Mrs Matley was renowned for singing to children as she walked them to school events and occasions, while teaching them to cross roads safely.
She said: “I’ve been very lucky really, I got an MBE and went to meet the Queen. I had to take a DVD back to show to the children so they could see it.”
Mrs Matley marked her time with a special service at Our Lady Church on Tuesday night, shared with more than 100 friends, family and well-wishers.