Lollipop lady Winnie steps down from all-weathers job

Date: Friday 9th November 2018
Winnie Radcliff
Winnie Radcliff

A FAMILIAR face to Penrith, standing out in all weathers helping children and adults safely cross the road and smiling and waving at passers-by, lollipop lady Winnie Radcliffe is to retire.

Winnie Radcliffe at her post in the early days
Winnie Radcliffe at her post in the early days

Winnie, who was born in Lazonby, is stepping down from her job as she is moving from her William Street home, where she has been for the last 52 years, to another part of town. Her last day as a lollipop lady will be on Friday.

Winnie said she felt “very sad” about retiring, but will continue to work at Beaconside Primary School as a dinner lady, where her daughter, Amanda Elder, also works.

Winnie, aged 73, who was married to the late Vic, first started her role in 1974, but had to stand down for a time 18 months later before taking it on again in 1980. She said her “love of children and helping people” is what made her apply for the job, and she’d always hoped it would be a role she would have forever.

She initially began working at the Boys’ National School and when it closed, was transferred to Beaconside Primary School.

She has since stood on the corner of Fell Lane and Benson Row each morning between 8-15am to 9-05am and in the afternoon from 3-15pm to 4-15pm. In between, she works as a dinner lady. “It keeps me out of mischief,” she joked.

She has only missed work a few times over the years.

Standing out in all weathers, she ensures children and adults are always able to cross the busy road.

“When it was really thick snow when my late husband was alive, he said ‘you stupid fool going out in this’. I was the only person in Penrith, the cars couldn’t get out, but I still went.

“If two or three schools are closed, there might be one open. I think of the children. It only takes one to be knocked down,” Winnie said. In her years since starting her job, Winnie has noticed the increase in traffic, and said she has seen some near misses on her portion of road, which has two roundabouts close together.

“Changes over the years have been that there’s more traffic, but everybody, all the public are the same, very friendly and they appreciate me,” she said.

Having met hundreds of people over the years in her job, and given a trademark wave to many more, she said she sees Penrith people wherever she goes — even when on holiday abroad!

“I would really like to thank everybody, they have all been brilliant,” she said.

Winnie believes the county council will be taking on a new person to fill her post. She wished her successor good luck in their new role, which she described as “really enjoyable”.