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Rita, Seaton’s ‘lollipop lady’ for 30 years and still going strong!

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Rita Hallett, our longest-serving School Crossing Patrol, has reached a major milestone by helping children and families cross the road more than million times over 30 years.  

Grandmother, Rita, 78, began working for us in 1992 and since then she has ensured countless families have been able to travel to and from Seaton Primary School in East Devon safely. 

And now Rita is encouraging others to consider joining our School Crossing Patrol with current vacancies in communities including Exmouth, Ivybridge, Tavistock, and Exeter. 

Over the years Rita has seen many changes, from her uniform to the amount of traffic on the roads, which has increased significantly. 

But one thing has remained constant, the sight of Rita travelling to and from work. 

“I cycle every day, and everyone knows me on my bike!” said Rita. 

She added: “I started being a Patrol just before my grandson was born. It was half-term in November, and it was raining then.” 

Despite the variable weather she says she has enjoyed every minute: “I like seeing the children, they are great little characters, and the parents, it gets me motivated in the morning and they are all so lovely.”  

Is it something she recommends that other people try?  

“Oh, have a go it’s good for you!” she says. “And very healthy, except when its pouring with rain of course! 

“It’s nice to meet people. When you get older you tend to meet the same sorts of people. Doing this job means you get to meet and chat to the younger families.  

“With the older children, the parents can leave them further up the road and they know they will safely get to school.” 

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management said:

“I want to thank Rita for her hard work and dedication over the last thirty years and hope she will do many more! 

“Rita, and all our School Crossing Patrols, are doing a wonderful road safety role in keeping our children and families safe. 

“I’m sure there are many people, many now with children of their own, who have fond memories of their schooldays and being kept safe by their ‘lollipop lady’ Rita. 

“We need more people to step into this vital role across Devon. You heard it from Rita herself, it keeps you fit and if you like meeting people and have time to spare we’d love to hear from you.”

For more information on the Patrol vacancies in Exmouth, Ivybridge, Tavistock, and Exeter please visit Devon County Council’s website.   Or call 01392 383000 and ask for School Crossing Patrols.