Popular lollipop lady Sandrea Howells of Stop and Call in Goodwick has hung up her hi-vis jacket after nearly four decades of helping children to cross the road in Fishguard.
Since 1981, Mrs Howells has helped several hundred schoolchildren to cross Vergam Terrace outside Holy Name Catholic Primary School.
The dedicated school patrol officer was presented with gifts and cards by pupils and staff at a special assembly last week, and thanked by headteacher Abigail Davies for her hard work over many years.
“Sandrea has kept generations of children safe, and the pupils and staff alike will miss her very much,” she said.
Sandrea said she had initially started as a lollipop lady on a six-month temporary contract, as there were plans at the time to build a new road -which didn’t go ahead.
“It’s been a long six months!” she said. “I’ve loved it. I’ll miss the kids the most. You get to know them, and they are lovely. The secrets they tell you – it would make their parents’ hair go white!”
She said she has seen many changes during her 37 years in charge – including a rise in the number of children being driven to school, and more vehicles on the road.
“It’s changed so much – there’s a lot more traffic on the road now, especially towards the summer months,” she said.
She added that she has stepped out of the road several times when she realised that a vehicle was not intending to stop – although once she was not quick enough.
“One day, this car was coming up from Windy Hill and I was standing in the road, and suddenly I thought they’re not slowing down; they’re not going to stop. I jumped backwards but my legs didn’t get in quite quick enough, and the front and back wheels of the car ran over my foot.
Despite the injury, Sandrea was back at her post just a couple of months later.
As well as working as a school crossing patrol officer, Sandrea has also worked as a home carer and a dinner lady – at one time, she would do dinners at both Holy Name and Fishguard High School – ‘running like mad’ from one school to the other!
Kirstie-Anne Donoghue, Road Safety Officer for Pembrokeshire County Council, paid tribute to Mrs Howells’ dedication towards the children in her care, and presented her with a clock on behalf of the highways authority.
“Sandrea has been a devoted school patrol crossing officer for nearly four decades, and we are hugely appreciative of her commitment over the years,” she said.
Pictured is retiring school crossing patrol officer Sandrea Howells with (left to right), Kirstie-Anne Donoghue, Abigail Davies, and pupils from Fishguard Holy Name R.C School.