Through all the changes and challenges that come with adapting to school life, the children and parents of Homelands Primary and St Margarets Academy have known one constant over the past decade.
Chris Thomas (Mr Thomas) has been the friendly face greeting the children every morning, saying goodbye every afternoon and, most importantly, ensuring they are safely escorted across the road at the busy zebra crossing at the top of Westhill Road in Torquay.
At the end of this half-term, Chris, who previously worked in the Navy, NHS and Local Government, retired as lollipop man for Homelands and St Margarets, deservedly received applause from a grateful community on his retirement day.
“I was knocked over in an accident around 15 years ago and, although not badly injured, the incident reinforced to me how important it is to make sure people stay safe on the roads,” said Mr Thomas.
“I’ve had the privilege of seeing so many children go through their Primary School journey and I always tried to remember everyone’s name. You see them every day and get to know the parents as well.
“Regardless of the weather, even if the wind was too strong to hold the lollipop, it was my job to be here and I’ve loved every minute.
“It has been a fantastic period in my life, I’ve met some wonderful children and you get to feel really appreciated for what you do.”
As well as his duties as a lollipop man, Mr Thomas performed a number of additional roles in school life, making him a major part of a joyful experience for our young people.
“He is an amazing chap and we often say people leave big boots to fill, but these are a really big pair of boots,” said Tim Hughes, Headmaster at St Margarets Academy.
“Not only was he a fantastic lollipop man, Mr Thomas did so much work in our orchard, growing crops for us and giving up his own time to look after things.
“During lockdown, he kept us entertained in virtual parties and the children, staff and parents will really miss him.”
Happy retirement Mr Thomas.
Torbay Weekly Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.