May 21 2013 Latest news:
Sara Odeen-Isbister, Reporter
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Margaret Ranson, known as Peggy, has been a lollipop lady outside Gascoigne Primary School in Barking for 18 years. She moved into the borough in the 1950s and now lives in The Shaftesburys, just a stone’s throw away from the school.
It was 18 years and four months ago that my friend and I went to the police to ask about becoming lollipop ladies. I’ve always liked children so I thought it would suit me.
Every day I get to the crossing at 8.30am and stay until 9.20am just in case anyone is late.
Then I come back in the afternoon at 2.55pm and stay until 3.45pm.
When I started there weren’t any traffic lights at the crossing, so it was very important that there was someone there to make sure the kids got across safely.
There are lights now, but I think it’s good to have a lollipop lady because there’s still a risk a child will run across without waiting for green and without looking.
Lots of the kids say hello to me every day, which is lovely, and some of them come up and have a chat.
There are two girls who always give me a hug.
Sometimes I’ll give them sweets.
They often come over and say: “We’ve been good this week, Peggy,” hoping for a treat.
At Christmas and when the children move on to secondary school I’ll often get little gifts from them.
One gave me a teddy with the words “From me to you” on it, which is really sweet.
It’s sad when the pupils leave the school, but some of them will come and say hello and let me know how they’re getting on at their new school.
Some of the pupils who were at Gascoigne Primary when I started are now bringing their own children, so I see them every day again.
Last year a red squirrel started coming up to me as I waited for the children.
He was so friendly and would let me feed him with nuts.
He was around for a few months, but in January my granddaughter called to say that he had been hit and killed by a car, which was upsetting.
I really like animals and if I see a cat or duck crossing the road I will press the pedestrian lights so they can walk across safely.
Some drivers look at me as if to say “What on earth is she doing?” but I don’t care.
I love my job and hope to carry on for another few years yet.