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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Celebrating Mary’s 50 years’ dedicated service as a School Crossing Patrol officer

When it comes to road safety, there can be few people more dedicated than Mary Nye, who is celebrating half a century as a School Crossing Patrol officer in Horsham.

Mary, 89, joined West Sussex County Council’s School Crossing team in 1973, first drawn to the opportunity to do a job that allowed her to spend school holidays with her own children. Fifty years on and she still thoroughly enjoys the role.

“It’s the schoolchildren themselves and doing something useful that I enjoy the most,” said Mary, who sees Holbrook Primary School children and their families safely across the road. “It helps motivate me to get up in the morning!”

As you might expect, some unusual things have happened during the half century – such as a cat regularly joining her crossing duties. “It used to wait and cross with me – not just one way but both ways.” Then there was the mysterious case of the stolen crossing pole. “Someone stole it and threw it in Warnham Mill Pond. The police retrieved it, took it to my house and asked me to identify it. They saw the funny side of the situation and we rolled about laughing.”

Mary spent the first part of her service crossing children from Greenway Junior School and Trafalgar Community Infant School before moving to her current spot, and still sees people that she helped when they were children and are now parents.

Mary’s line manager, School Crossing Patrol Co-ordinator Sonia Barber, said: “Mary is a real asset to our services. She manages a complex crossing and preforms her duty impeccably.

“It gives me great pleasure to visit Mary and the warm gratitude she receives from pupils and parents leaves you with a boost of happiness that lasts all day.”

Cllr Joy Dennis, County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Our School Crossing Patrols have a vital role in our communities and Mary’s 50 years’ dedicated service and commitment is truly wonderful. I would like to thank her, along with the 96 other School Crossing Patrols across West Sussex, for seeing children and parents safely across roads in all weathers during term time.”

Holbrook Primary School Head Teacher, Ian Holmes, said: “Mary Nye is a well-known and valuable part of our school community in her role as the School Crossing Patrol on North Heath Lane. She is out on this busy road every morning and afternoon without fail, come rain, sleet, storms, snow or whatever the weather brings.

“Mary performs an important part of our safeguarding remit in ensuring that countless children and parents are able to cross the road safely. She is very conscientious and always cheerful in her job, and we are privileged to have had her at Holbrook Primary school since we opened in 1992. Everyone at Holbrook would like to congratulate her on this amazing achievement.”

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