Shoreham lollipop man retires after serving same busy spot for 27 years

Shoreham lollipop man Mike Billington said a fond farewell to pupils from two primary schools as he retired after 27 years working the same spot.

The 83-year-old covered Downsway and Upper Shoreham Road, helping children from Swiss Gardens Primary School and Buckingham Park Primary School to cross the road.

Lollipop man Mike Billington with Julie Holt, assistant co-ordinator, at Swiss Gardens Primary School. Picture: Steve Robards SR1908975

Lollipop man Mike Billington with Julie Holt, assistant co-ordinator, at Swiss Gardens Primary School. Picture: Steve Robards SR1908975

Julie Holt, assistant co-ordinator at West Sussex County Council’s southern depot in Clapham, presented Mike with a long-service certificate and a bottle of champagne during an assembly at Swiss Gardens on Friday.

She said: “He is a lovely man, a real gentleman. We are really going to miss him a lot. Hopefully we will have someone soon to replace him.”

Mike also received a hamper from Swiss Gardens and a voucher from Buckingham Park.

Lawrence Caughlin, head teacher at Swiss Gardens, told the children: “It is a really long time to be getting up every day to make sure the children of Swiss Gardens and Buckingham Park cross the road safely at the beginning and end of the school day.

“That is absolute dedication to the job. It must be absolutely thousands of children he has helped across the road. He has decided to have a well-earned retirement.”

Mike started in 1992 and some of the children from those days have since sought his help crossing the road with their own children.

He said: “I know a lot of children and all their names. I will miss the children but I won’t miss the getting up in the morning.”

Mike has two great grandchildren at Swiss Gardens and his wife Ellen was not only a pupil there, during the Second World War, she also later worked in the school kitchen.

Ellen said: “When my children were here, someone knocked on the door and asked if I could help in the canteen. We only live down the road. In those days, we used to cook all the meals and we had a marvellous cook.”

A school crossing patrol recruitment drive is planned for the end of the month but Julie said there have been a few willing volunteers to cover in the meantime.

“It would be nice if we could replace Mike quite quickly because it is such a busy road,” she added.

Email julie.holt@westsussex.gov.uk or telephone 0330 222 6738 if you are interested in taking up the post.