Eighty-year-old Mary Fisher has been praised as the factotum of Summerbridge for her four decades of service as the village school patrol.
County Coun John Fort, who presented Mary with her long service award at an assembly of Summerbridge primary yesterday, paid tribute to her dedication and her standing in the community - and he should know because he helped to persuade her to take on the role 40 years ago.
Coun Fort was a police constable when the position for a school crossing patrol in Summerbridge became vacant all that time past.
He said: “It’s a very important role and in those days if there was nobody to do the job, the local police officer had to step in.
“We all knew Mary then as a very active member of her community and we needed somebody like her to take on this vital work keeping children safe on the road. She agreed finally, and Summerbridge has never looked back.
“She is a wonderful lady – a really outgoing person and is always there when people in the community need help. She is the village factotum.”
Mary says she has loved every minute of her job and as far as the school is concerned she is a treasure. Every child gets a £2 coin and a card from Mary on their birthday and the children see her as somebody who is always there for them.
“Mary is at the very heart of our school,” said Karen Ward, the acting head.
“She is a grandma to everybody and we are her extended family. She doesn’t do the job for the money, but because she loves it. She has been there every day for the children, come hail, rain or snow.
“She puts the needs of everybody else first. And we all love the baking she does for village and school fund raising events as well. Her tea loaves are famous!”
North Yorkshire has 60 school crossing patrols across the county who are there to support children and adults cross busy roads before and after the school day. “Our school crossing patrols perform a critical job protecting the safety of people - adults as well as children - on our roads,” said County Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Road Safety.
“We urge drivers to respect the patrol and drive with the safety of pedestrians as their priority near schools.
“With the winter months, the clock change and darker nights fast approaching we would also urge all vulnerable road users - in particular, cyclists and pedestrians - to Be Bright and Be Seen.”