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Dorset's longest serving Lollipop lady is hanging up her hat after 47 years

Back in 1974, the same year that ABBA won the Eurovision song contest with Waterloo, Mrs Jean Witt was just starting her career as a lollipop lady after her youngest son began primary school.

School crossing patrollers were introduced to relieve police officers who were at the time, helping children to cross the road safely, to do other duties. The early patrollers wore white and carried a warning rectangle, but by 1974 the familiar high-vis yellow coat and ‘lollipop’ stick had been introduced.

 Jean’s first role involved crossing the children at Corfe Mullen’s Lockyers Middle School and Rushcombe First School. Ten years later in 1984 she swapped her site with the previous school crossing patroller at Merley First School, enabling them both to work in their local communities.

 She has remained at Merley First School since, as a familiar face to welcome each child to school. Many of the children Jean originally crossed are now bringing their own children to the school. Jean said, “I have really enjoyed being part of the community and I will miss the children very much when I retire.”

 To celebrate Jean’s retirement, the pupils and staff at Merley First School held a special assembly and presented Jean with flowers and cards to thank her for her years of service. Jean’s manager from BCP Council was also in attendance.

 Mrs Anstey, Headteacher, thanked Jean for her tireless service to the community and generosity to the families.

 Cllr Mike Greene, Portfolio holder for Transportation, BCP Council said “It is very important to encourage as many children as possible to walk, scoot and cycle to school to reduce congestion and promote a healthy lifestyle. In this aim we were fortunate at BCP Council to have a school crossing patroller like Jean who dedicated her time to helping these children cross the road safely for so many years. We thank her for her service and wish her a relaxing retirement.”