It may have been his 66th birthday but Palm Bay grandad-of-nine Barry Mason still turned out for his last shift as Cliftonville primary and pre-school lollipop man.
Barry has been helping children safely cross the road for the past 12 years but made his final crossing on May 10.
Former Bank of England worker Barry says he came by the job accidentally after being asked to pick his granddaughter up from school.
The dad-of-three said: “It was a bit of a coincidence. I had retired from the Bank of England, where I worked for 35 years, and we’d moved to Margate to be closer to our daughter and grandkids. My wife and daughter were out one day and phoned me to pick my granddaughter up and as I walked in I saw the job advertised and thought ‘that will do.’
“When I took the job it was all part and parcel as part lollipop man and part caretaking.
“I’ve been at the school 13 years this year and am staying as caretaker but will be going part time in September. I thought I’d phase myself out!”
In the 12 years Barry has been the school’s lollipop man there have been no accidents.
He said: “The best bit of the job was knowing that for the 12 years I was doing it there wasn’t one accident and no children were hurt.
“I made really good friends with the parents and it was satisfying to know I crossed all those children safely. It has been fun and I’ve enjoyed the chatter. People confide all sorts of things, I could write the confessions of a lollipop man!
“I do miss it and all the wonderful people. The next day I still went out to the gate to have a chat with parents!”
Deputy Head Teacher Louise Wilson said: “Mr Mason has safely crossed over thousands of our families into school and we are forever indebted to him for this.
“The children recognise that Barry has been a huge part of keeping them safe at our school. Mr Mason remains part of the school’s fantastic site team so is still very much part of the Cliftonville family.”