'Mrs Lollipop' hangs up her stick after more than 50 years of service in Bedfordshire

021222 Joyce Shaunnessy
Joyce Shaughnessy started helping children cross the road in 1969. Credit: Central Beds Council

A much-loved lollipop lady has decided to hand in her stick after 53 years helping children cross the road.

Joyce Shaughnessy, 80, has worked in seven decades, helping generations of school children cross the roads in Ampthill in Bedfordshire but is retiring later this month at the end of term.

She has been guiding pupils across Dunstable Road to The Firs Lower, Alameda Middle, Russell Lower and Redbourne Upper schools since the 1960s.

Ms Shaughnessy said: “The children all call me Mrs Lollipop as when I first met them in reception class they couldn’t say my surname, and then it stuck all the way through their schooling.

"I started when some children were 16 and 17-years-old, they're now great-grandparents.

"So I’ve been crossing them over as well - grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

Joyce Shaughnessy guiding children across the road Credit: Central Beds Council

Ms Shaughnessy was congratulated for her service by councillors.

Ian Dalgarno, of Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “What a fantastic achievement. I would like to thank Joyce for all her years as a cherished lollipop lady in Ampthill.

“I’m sure generations of children, their parents and school staff are thankful to Joyce for her amazing service and will join me in wishing her every happiness in her retirement.”

Tamsin Townsend, senior road safety manager at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Joyce has been an inspiration to us all. After joining as a school crossing patrol officer in 1969, she has helped many generations of local families within Ampthill to safely cross the road to school.

"As her manager, I am truly sad to be losing Joyce as part of our team as she is a pleasure to work with and always puts a smile on our faces and the faces of the children.

"Whoever applies to fill the vacancy will have big boots to fill. I wish Joyce all the best in her retirement, which is thoroughly deserved after all these years."