End of an era for the friendly face of Epworth

Mavis Smith, of Epworth, has been on School Patrol for 31 years.  Picture: Marie Caley E4182MC
Mavis Smith, of Epworth, has been on School Patrol for 31 years. Picture: Marie Caley E4182MC

A familiar face to thousands of Epworth youngsters and their parents will be missed by many, after the end of this school term.

School crossings patrol warden Mavis Smith has cheerfully helped schoolchildren across Burnham Road at Epworth Primary Academy since the school first opened 32 years ago.

But the much-loved 64-year-old has now reluctantly decided to prop up her giant-sized yellow lollipop for good, due to ongoing health problems, said her daughter Tracey Smith.

Tracey said of her mother: “She’s absolutely loved her work and has been out all days in all weathers for so many years, and she knows all the parents and children in the area.

“She wouldn’t be retiring now if she didn’t feel she must.”

Mavis’s own two children and grandchildren have also attended the school, and she has watched generations of the same families pass through the gates.

The grandmother of four could have taken her retirement four years ago but chose to stay on serving her “many little friends” for as long as she could.

She has had no bad road incidents during the time she has manned her crossing, but laughed as she told of an “accidental tumble” that became slightly exaggerated over the day by over-imaginative youngsters.

A spokesperson for Epworth Primary Academy said: “Mavis has provided a vital role for pupils of Epworth Primary Academy over many years.

“Her job of keeping children safe has been very much appreciated and we wish her a long, happy and well-deserved retirement.”

Mrs Smith has worked outside the school from 8.20am to 9am each morning, and from 3pm to 3.40pm in afternoons, but in the time between those stints she has also served South Axholme Academy pupils over lunchtimes.

In a tribute to the long-serving council employee, Coun Liz Redfern, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Mavis for all her hard work over the years.

“You have been a valuable figure in the community over the past 32 years and I’m sure you will be missed by many people. You have been a familiar and important part of the journey for lots of children to and from school.”

Mrs Smith will take her well-deserved retirement from early next month, but until then is continuing her daily duties.