BRITAIN’S longest serving lollipop lady is hanging up her stick after crossing the same stretch of road a million times.

Longest-serving lollipop lady in Britain to hang up her high-vis coat after 45 years

During a 45-year career Margaret Cattle has helped herd tens of thousands of children safely across the busy carriageway as they make their way to four local schools.

But with her 70th birthday approaching, she has decided it is time to finally hang-up her high-visibility coat and pass the lollipop on to a new crossing person.

The grandmother-of-six was just 25 when she first went on patrol in 1972 and estimates she has clocked-up 3,000 miles going back and forth each day.

She said: “It’s been my way of life for so long and I’ve loved it.

“But I have to be back at the crossing for three o’clock every day and it’s becoming a bit tying. It’s just time to take a step back.”

Mrs Cattle, who campaigned for 30 years to get a zebra crossing at the point where she stops cars, said she is proud to have seen three generations of some families stay safe including her own grandchildren.

She added: “The biggest change throughout the 45 years has been the children. I’ve seen grandparents, parents and then their children across the road safely.

It’s been my way of life for so long and I’ve loved it

Margaret Cattle

“If a child gives me a bit of trouble or misbehave I say to them, ‘I’ll tell your grandma’ and they tell me I don’t know who their grandma is. But I tell them that I actually do.”

She was initially asked to the do the job by a desperate police officer and her first year’s wages helped pay for driving lessons.

The mother-of-two from Cottingham, East Yorkshire, added: “There was an elderly gentleman doing it when I was younger but he became unwell and then a couple of police officers took over for a few years.

“I used to cross that way quite a bit and one day the officer just asked me if I wanted to take it on.

“They were asking everybody but I was the one that said yes. I shared it with the police officer for a few years and then took on the role myself.”

She added: “My first uniform was a constabulary beret and gradually, when the local authority took over the role, they started to introduce the bright yellow coat.”

Mrs Cattle, who shepherds pupils from Bacon Garth, Westfield and Hallgate primary schools, as well as Cottingham High School from her spot on the town’s Southwood Road Cottingham, has fortunately never seen a crash but admits she has experienced a couple of “near misses.”

She added: “I’ve never seen a child get hit, not in all my long years.

“I’ve had a couple of aggressive van drivers and agitated people but never anything serious.

“I’ve seen some lovely families. It’s been an absolutely wonderful job and I will really miss all the people I get to meet everyday.”

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