Coral has no plans to hang up her lollipop

Mayor Cllr Jo Bentley with Coral Whyman
Mayor Cllr Jo Bentley with Coral Whyman

A popular lollipop lady who has been getting children to school safely since 1973 attended a special award presentation and theatre show on Friday.

It was a celebration of more than 40 years service from Coral Whyman – the longest in East Sussex.

She has been a crossing patrol officer outside White House Academy for 42 years, and said she has no plans to stop as she loves her job.

Coral, 67, was honoured for her dedication by the Mayor of Hailsham, Cllr Jo Bentley, who attended a special ceremony and light luncheon at the school, presenting Mrs Whyman with a shield.

Among those who attended alongside the Mayor and school teachers, staff and pupils were Wealden MP Charles Hendry and his wife Sallie.

Representatives from Sussex Police and Hailsham Rotary Club also attended, both presenting additional donations to raise funds to cover the annual costs of Mrs Whyman’s continued employment, ensuring children can safely cross the road outside their school.

After the presentation, the entire school and its lollipop lady and guests attended a live pantomime performance of Robin Hood at Hailsham Pavilion, organised by the Friends of Whitehouse School.

The event was staged by a professional theatre company and included audience involvement and participation.

Coral was delighted to receive her awards and to be invited by teaching staff and pupils to the pantomime performance.

She said, “It’s so rewarding to have recognition for our work. We work outside in all weather conditions performing a very important service and greatly appreciate it when drivers are polite and patient!”

Town Clerk John Harrison said, “Since School Crossing Patrols were officially introduced some 50 or more years ago, traffic on our streets has increased to considerable levels and the job of the lollipop person has increased in importance as a result, because they protect our schoolchildren in an ever more hazardous environment.

“Congratulations to Coral on this wonderful achievement and for her sterling work! She deserves all the praise she is getting.

“More than 40 years of overseeing the safety of children is quite an achivement and a really important contribution to the community life of Hailsham. I’m really pleased that her commitment to that role has been recognised.”