SHE has helped generations of children cross the road in all weathers, greeting them with a warm smile even on the coldest of days.
But Pearl Anderson has finally hung up her lollipop after 36 years keeping the children of Corstorphine Primary School safe come rain or shine.
The children at Corstorphine are so lovely and well behaved. I haven’t had a cheeky one yet.Pearl Anderson
The 74-year-old grandmother is thought to be one of the longest-serving lollipop ladies in Scotland and has only ever worked on one crossing.
She can even remember when some of the current parents were pupils themselves.
And more recently she has been seeing her own six-year-old granddaughter Lois across the road on her way to school.
Pearl said: “I’m sad to be leaving. But I am not getting any younger and I want to leave before I get all the aches and pains – and before I start to hobble around.
“The best thing about being a lollipop lady is the chat and all the wee ones have something to tell you. The children at Corstorphine are so lovely and well behaved. I haven’t had a cheeky one yet.”
But while she will miss the children, she certainly won’t miss standing at her post in the bitter cold.
“When I heard the rain on the windows sometimes I wouldn’t want to go outside,” Pearl said. “It was the coldest ever November and I thought I wouldn’t last seven days but I did.
“I think the job has toughened me up but I looked forward to coming into a warm house at the end of the day.”
Pearl revealed she was initially reluctant to become a lollipop lady because she hated the cold, but said that recruiters had been “desperate”.
She was finally talked into it at a party when she was in her late 30s, attracted by the generous school holidays.
A goodbye presentation was held at the school with a speech from headteacher Jennifer Ross thanking Pearl for her many years of devoted service.
Mrs Ross said: “Pearl has given a stalwart service to children and parents for the last 36 years. She is incredibly reliable and very rarely off sick.
“She is a lovely, warm, kind and sensitive lady and all the children love her. They will miss her hugely.
“They looked forward to her friendly face in the morning and at the end of the day. She is going to leave a big hole but we know that she has earned a rest after all those years.
“We wish her all the very best and for a long healthy and happy retirement. She will certainly be a tough act to follow.
“Pearl is a motherly figure who has taken the time to get to know all the children really well.”
Praise for Pearl flooded in via the Facebook page Corstorphine – A Friendly Village For Friendly People, including calls for a leaving collection.
Susan Lyon wrote: “Can’t believe Pearl has been there for 36 years. Seems like only yesterday she was helping my brother and I over the road and I’m now 43.”
Lyndsey Scott added: “She sometimes gave me a polo mint on a Friday. Bless her, hope she enjoys retirement.”
Pearl, who lives with husband Peter in Corstorphine, has three grown-up children and two grandchildren.
She hasn’t made any firm plans about how she will spend her retirement but may take up sewing and crochet again.