After nearly 40 years as Summerbridge’s lollipop lady, Mary Fisher thought she knew everything that was going on at the primary school.
So she was astounded when the children and staff threw a surprise party for her, having smuggled their party outfits, cake and presents past her on the morning of her birthday.
Mrs Fisher said she had no idea the school was planning anything to celebrate her 80th birthday.
“It was a complete surprise,” she said. “I came in to school in the morning and the teachers sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and gave me a bouquet of flowers and some cards, and then I went home. My daughter had said she would take me to Betty’s, and all the children had been wishing me a nice day there.”
But Mrs Fisher made an impromptu visit to the school with her daughter Joy Challis, who is the caretaker at Lofthouse School and said she needed to drop something off with the headteacher, Angela Mundy.
Mrs Fisher said: “We got to the door and Mrs Mundy let us in and we went to the hall. She opened the door and the children shouted out and sang ‘Happy Birthday’. They then clapped 80 times.
“They all had their party clothes on. I’ll never know how they got it all past me.”
Mrs Fisher was then treated to a birthday lunch made by the school cook which she enjoyed with all the children, staff and representatives from the PTA.
Mrs Fisher said: “It was absolutely fantastic. Talk about a surprise! When you get moments like this, it’s really special.”
Mrs Mundy said: “Mary had no idea we were secretly planning a special celebration event for her and the children were using the code name of “Fishergate” whenever it was mentioned in the school.
“I was amazed that the children managed to keep it all a secret, especially when they all smuggled their party clothes past her when crossing the road!”
She added: “Mary had a very memorable day that she well deserved for all the wonderful things she does in addition to her job.”
Mrs Fisher has lived in Summerbridge for 61 years, and has been the lollipop lady at the school for nearly 40 years, having begun the job on October 13, 1975.
She has led generations of families across the road to school, and gives each child a card with £2 in it for their birthday.
She said: “I love the children and I love the job. I lost my husband Jim died nearly seven years ago, and this gives me something to get up for in the mornings. It feels like a nice big family.”
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