Lollipops seem to run in proud Mary's family
A crossing guard took up the lollipop like her mother and grandfather before her and ensured children got safely to school for the last 16 years.
Mary Robertson (65) has been fixture outside Slamannan Primary School for well over a decade and both pupils and staff were sad to see her go last week when she finally retired from the vital duty she loved.
Sadly when she handed back her lollipop for the last time it was also the end of a family dynasty which started with her grandfather David Meek in the first half of last century and continued with her mum Agnes Penman, who retired the day before her 70th birthday.
All three members of the same family were responsible for getting Slamannan youngsters across the same stretch of road to the primary school, which currently has a roll of around 120 pupils.
Mary said: “When I was 10 my granddad actually helped me across the road. The reason I can remember it so clearly was he told me something very important one day. He leaned over when I was coming home from school and said ‘Your mum’s got a surprise for you’.
“It turned out that was the day my mum gave birth to my sister.”
Mary’s mum took up the mantle of the school’s lollipop person after David, so it seemed natural to Mary to follow their example and take on the role herself.
Unfortunately her daughter, Deanne Dowell has told her she will not be carrying on the family tradition.
Mary laughed: “Deanne’s made it clear that I’ll be the last one in the family to do the job.”
And it was a job that Mary could not get enough of, even when the mornings and afternoons were cold and wet.
She said: “I just enjoyed talking to the kids in the morning and at home time. I also live just down the road from the school so it was handy. As for the weather, you get used to it.
“There are kids at the primary school just now who are sons and daughters of the boys and girls I used to help across the road years ago.”
There was generations worth of gratitude shown by these youngsters and their parents when Mary called it a day.
“I got lots of flowers from the children,” she said. “And lots of gifts from the teachers as well.”
Mary says she and her husband will be heading off on a well-deserved holiday in the coming weeks, but upon her return she will not exactly be taking things easy.
She said: “I’m going to spend some more time with my seven grandchildren and we’ve also got the house to decorate as well so that will keep me busy.”
All Mary will get to remind her of her time as a lollipop lady are her happy memories because, despite her years of service and her proud family history of crossing duties, she has not been allowed to keep her trusty lollipop.
That will be going to her replacement when he or she starts at the Bank Street school in the new year.
They will have to go some to beat Mary and her family’s combined years of service to the school and the community.