A LOLLIPOP lady has retired after almost 37 years serving the same school.

Jane Freegard has been Ducklington CE Primary School’s lollipop lady for nearly four decades, outlasting six headteachers and helping generations of children cross the road safely.

The 74-year-old has now put down her lollipop for the last time after retiring yesterday, the school’s last day of term.

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Mrs Freegard said: “It’ll be a question of what to do with myself – I’ve been through six headteachers and helped the children of children I once helped.

“It means everything to me, just to see their faces in the morning makes my day.

“I don’t know how I’ll cope not seeing them, they’ve made my day over the years and have been an inspiration to me.

Witney Gazette: Jane Freegard has helped Ducklington pupils cross safely after almost 37 years in the job. Picture by Ed NixJane Freegard has helped Ducklington pupils cross safely after almost 37 years in the job. Picture by Ed Nix

“It’s been a pleasure to go out in the morning – I’ve really enjoyed it.

“I never anticipated I would do it for so long, especially when I moved to Thorney Leys – but I carried on cycling in whatever the weather.

“You get such a lot out of it for yourself and I know I’ve done my little bit.”

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The school will not only lose a key member of staff, but a colourful character too.

“At Christmas, I used to put tinsel on my lollipop, with Elton John style glasses and big earrings for each day over the Christmas period,” said Mrs Freegard.

“There was one time when my lollipop blew in the wind and it went into a ditch, but I was still holding the lollipop up even when I was in the ditch.”

Russell Leigh, the school’s headteacher, praised Mrs Freegard and said she would be ‘a hard act to follow’.

He said: “She’s vitally important, she’s seen parents as children, and generations come through.

“She’s affectionately known as Lolly and is part of the fabric of the school – she’ll be sorely missed.

“It’s remarkable how long she’s been doing it, and she still cycles in every day.

“The cars can power though but we know she’s there to help the children cross safely.

“She’s going to be difficult to replace and a hard act to follow.”

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Donna Franklin, a former chair of the school’s parent teacher association, said Mrs Freegard had helped both her daughters, plus her husband, cross safely.

She said: “My eldest daughter, who’s 23, my youngest daughter, who’s 11, and my husband have all been crossed by Jane.

“When we first took my youngest, Jane remembered us, which was quite remarkable.

“She’s so caring and lovely, and such a trooper – she’ll be sorely missed by the school.

“She adores the school and the community, and she was at the school whatever the weather.”