After four decades at the school Coral Whyman didn’t think the pupils could shock her any more - but the lollipop lady was stunned by a surprise assembly this week.
Pupils and teachers held a special assembly at Whitehouse Primary to mark Mrs Whyman’s 40th year serving the Hailsham school.
The long-standing member of the school was presented with flowers and cards by the children to mark the occasion on February 13.
In turn the school crossing patrol stalwart handed all 158 pupils in the school a lollipop.
Mrs Whyman is now crossing the children of the children she originally crossed when she started in 1973.
But the 65-year-old has no plans to quit yet, joking that most lollipop ladies do not start the job until they are her age.
The great-grandmother said: “I love the job and I love helping the children, they are lovely and tell me all sorts of things and we have a laugh and a joke and they are so polite.
“I was a bit surprised with the assembly, but as long as I didn’t cry I was all right, but it was a bit emotional.”
She added: “I started the job because the lollipop man retired and I saw a notice on the school gate so I went in and said I wanted to do it and a nice policeman trained me and away I went. But it wasn’t supposed to be for this long.”
Heather Baldwin, head teacher at the school, said that Mrs Whyman had supported the school in many other ways, especially in keeping the school looking beautiful by tending the flower tubs. She said: “We went through a period without a caretaker and she helped with that as well, so she’s been more than a lollipop lady, she’s been an integral part of our school.
“The staff see her as a colleague not just somebody who does this for them; she’s a colleague and friend.
“Also the families of the children see her as a friend because the children’s parents know her very well because she used to cross them, and also because she has always kept an eye out for the children and will tell the parents or staff if she sees something she is not happy about.
“She also enables the older children to walk to and from school and if they have to walk across the road they can do that safely and parents do not have to worry.”
At a time when many school are losing funding to keep the school crossing patrols Mrs Whyman has continued to prove there is still a need for the lollipop lady, said Mrs Baldwin.