Pupils bid farewell to retiring lollipop lady Sylvia Everest
A grandmother who is hanging up her lollipop after keeping Sheppey’s school children safe on the roads for 25 years says it is part of her life she will never forget.
Sylvia Everest spent her last day looking after Halfway Houses pupils where they cross Queenborough Road, Halfway, on Thursday.
The 65-year-old had a fall last year and an injury to her hip has worsened, causing walking to be very painful and prompting her decision to retire.
She started out as the lollipop lady at Danley Middle School in 1988 after asking if the school wanted one, as she had been looking at the road and worrying how dangerous it was.
A move to Halfway primary came a year later, and then she worked between the two schools until Danley closed in 2009.
Mrs Everest, of Admirals Walk, Halfway, can clearly remember the day she was trained up by a traffic warden.
She recalls being very nervous and then a feisty policewoman came up and told her: “Sylvia, you’ve got to get out there and let them know who’s boss”, and she says she has been doing that ever since.
Another memorable moment was before Danley closed, when a new bus driver stopped and asked her if she would get on board and take the journey to Rushenden as the children were causing havoc and she could not control them herself.
Mrs Everest said: “I went upstairs and it was just mayhem – they were swearing and running up and down.
“I said ‘what is going on here?’ and they calmed down a bit.”
Being a lollipop lady is a job Mrs Everest says is not for the faint-hearted as she has had lots of near misses and has been sworn at, but in general she says everyone has been wonderful and she is very sad to go.
She added: “I love the children and I love doing it – it’s heart-wrenching to go, but it’s the right time.
“The majority of drivers have been wonderful and all the parents, young people and police have been so brilliant.
“It’s been absolutely amazing and it’s part of my life I’ll never forget.”