Bury St Edmunds school lollipop attendant - ‘the jolliest man in town’ - retires after eight years
A school lollipop attendant who ‘puts a smile on everyone’s face and is the jolliest man in Bury St Edmunds’ is retiring today.
Bernie Sexton has helped St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School children cross the road in Westgate Street for just over eight years.
But the 74-year-old says the moment has come for him to hang up his fluorescent coat and stop sign so he can enjoy some time at home.
Parent Starr Hubbard said: “Bernie is certainly one of a kind and an extraordinary individual I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know.
“It’s not only the children’s safety that is paramount to Bernie but all who pass him by.
“The mornings and afternoons are always pleasant when he is around come rain or shine. He puts a smile on everyone’s face and has to be the jolliest man in Bury St Edmunds.”
Bernie took the job after retiring from poultry processing factory Padleys, in Bury St Edmunds.
He said: “I got on well with the kids. I did animal impressions for them. If there was a child who didn’t want to go to school I would make a noise and they would be like ‘okay mum I will go to school’.
“I enjoy meeting people - mums and dads and the kids. It makes the day go quickly.”
Bernie has also helped with the school’s gardening club and annual summer fayres.
Katie Copeman, head of school, said he worked with their Year 6 junior road safety officers, which inspired them to work with the local PCSO to patrol the street and speak to parents about parking and idling.
She said they received numerous letters and comments ‘about how much Bernie brightens up people’s days’.
“We consider it a privilege to have had Bernie working with us, showing such commitment to his role and the people that he serves,” she added.
“He has provided our pupils with a real-life example of what many of our school’s 10 characteristics of an effective learner look like in action, the most of which being motivation, collaboration and respect.
"His cheerful disposition, come rain or shine, has helped each one of our children enter the school each day with positivity about their day ahead.
“As a school community, we are going to miss Bernie greatly, but we thank him hugely for his service to our school community over the past eight years and we all wish him a happy, restful and very well-deserved retirement.”