80th birthday celebrations for the East's longest-serving lollipop lady

Carole Hayes, who patrols Longsands Road in St Neots, has celebrated her 80th birthday

Carole Hayes, who patrols Longsands Road in St Neots, has celebrated her 80th birthday - Credit: Cambridgeshire County Council

The longest-serving lollipop lady in the East of England has celebrated her 80th birthday - and she has no plans to "slow down".

Carole Hayes celebrated her milestone birthday on Tuesday, May 17.

She began patrolling the crossing outside Priory Junior School and Longsands Academy on March 19, 1979, and it is thought she has helped around one million children across Longsands Road over the past 43 years.

"It gets me up in the morning and meeting people," said Carole.

"A lot of the parents are very nice. I had a lady give me a card, chocolates and pair of earrings when I’d done 43 years. She said I’d been amazing getting her children across safely.

"Most of the parents seem to appreciate me.

"Children sometimes give me cards at Christmas time and parents a bunch of flowers at special times of the year."

She added: "I don't like being on my own, especially winter time."

Most Read

Carole's late husband Albert suggested she take on the role when her children attended the junior schol.

"The school needed a lollipop lady," she said.

"And my husband said ‘why not give it a go, Carole?’

"I’ve stuck at it ever since."

In 1995, Carole was hailed an "unsung hero" by Chat magazine, when her youngest daughter entered her into a competition.

"She explained I’d be doing this for so many years and always smiled.

"I came second in the competition, but I didn't know about the entry."

Carole was treated to a surprise visit from You've Been Framed and Game for a Laugh presenter Jeremy Beadle.

She plans to continue working until she feels unable to.

"I'll keep going as long as my legs keep me going. I just find it very pleasant.

"I have trouble with the first two fingers on my right hand. They said it’s arthritis and I have no feeling, but I’ll keep going while I can."

Councillor Neil Shailer, of Cambridgeshire County Council's Highways and Transport Committee, praised Carole for her many years of service.

He said: "I’ve been really touched by Carole's story.

"Her dedication to keeping children safe is an inspiration and I know she is a highly valued member of the community. I wish her a very happy 80th birthday and hope to see her on Longsands Road for many years to come!"