Not a woman to cross!
Children are preparing to say a fond farewell to a woman who has helped generations of pupils cross a busy road on their way to school.
Catherine Infant School, in Belgrave, Leicester, will be without its lollipop lady of 40 years, Margaret Denholm, after the end of this term.
Margaret, who celebrated her 80th birthday on Sunday, is the city's longest-serving crossing patrol officer, with 45 years under her belt.
The school contacted the Mercury after we asked pupils, teachers and parents to tell us why their crossing patrol officer has a special place in their hearts.
SUNDAY OPEN BUFFET EAT AS MUCH AS U CAN £6.99PP & A LA CARTE...View details
Come & Try our Delicious Menu with an Amazing 15% off all Food Bills on a la carte menu only
Terms: Lebanese & Mediterenian Menu With An Amazing 15% Off Your Food Bills on a la carte menu only
Contact: 0116 2169184
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Tannisha Mattu, seven, said: "It doesn't matter if it is a stormy day, raining or sunny, she is always there every morning to help us cross the road.
"She always talks to us and makes us laugh. I will miss her."
Malachi Saddler, five, said: "Margaret stops the cars so we can cross the road without getting knocked down. It's a very important job. She is quite strict, but very kind too."
Bryn Foreman-Jones, five, is another of her young fans.
"She holds my hand when I cross the road and tells off the drivers if they are not being good," he said.
Yahya Adam, six, said: "She sometimes tells people they need to go and learn how to drive again. The cars go fast, but she makes us feel safe."
Margaret, who grew up in Burton Street, in the city centre, began her crossing patrol career at Sparkenhoe Primary School, in Highfields, on November 14, 1967, before moving to live in Belgrave in 1972.
"It's been my life," she said. "I only tried out as a lollipop lady to earn a bit of extra holiday cash, and here I am 45 years later!"
She said the job had changed beyond recognition since she started.
"The volume of traffic nowadays is horrendous!" she said. "And drivers are much more inconsiderate than they used to be. Some of them don't seem to realise that it's the safety of little children that's at stake, so I tell them – in no uncertain terms.
"It's the children I'll miss most, as well as the routine.
"I've made a lot of friends and we've had some laughs. There's going to be a void in my life to fill when I retire, but it is time."
Head teacher Nirmal Basson said ushering pupils safely over Catherine Street was one of the toughest crossing patrol jobs in the city.
"It's been a pleasure every day working with Margaret," she said. "Catherine Street has to be one of the busiest roads in the city at rush hour, when it goes absolutely crazy.
"I've seen drivers ignore the red light completely and just drive straight through, so it has been reassuring to know Margaret is out there.
"The children are her absolute priority and she will stand her ground if she has to. She is a larger than life character and a wonderful asset to the school."
To tell us all about your lollipop man or woman, call David Owen on 0116 222 4277 or e-mail: