Schoolchildren bid farewell to much-loved Sheffield lollipop lady who overcame terrifying brick attack

Lollipop lady Marilyn Marsden at Yewlands Academy with students and assistant headteacher Grant Bryce-Stephen (Marie Caley)
Lollipop lady Marilyn Marsden at Yewlands Academy with students and assistant headteacher Grant Bryce-Stephen (Marie Caley)
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A much-loved Sheffield lollipop lady who continued undaunted after a terrifying brick attack is retiring after more than 30 years in the job.

Marilyn Marsden has helped generations of children safely navigate the city's roads since first picking up the striped stick in 1983.

Marilyn at the Yewlands Academy school prom with Lewis Bagshaw and Tom Charlesworth

Marilyn at the Yewlands Academy school prom with Lewis Bagshaw and Tom Charlesworth

Students at Yewlands Academy, in Grenoside, where she has assisted pupils to cross the road for the last 16 years, are preparing to bid her a fond farewell when she steps down this Friday (March 10).

The 62-year-old grandmother-of-seven worked outside schools around Sheffield when she first became a lollipop lady, before being stationed permanently outside Fox Hill Primary School, where she worked for 28 years until stepping down last October.

For most of the last 16 years she juggled that role with the one at Yewlands, where different starting and finishing times meant she was able to dash up the A61 Halifax Road each morning and afternoon to switch roles.

"I'm part of the fixtures and fittings on Halifax Road. I've loved every minute of it and I'll miss all the children," she said.

Marilyn in 2010, when she was presented with an award for outstanding contribution to the community

Marilyn in 2010, when she was presented with an award for outstanding contribution to the community

The highlight of Marilyn's career came when she was voted Sheffield's best lollipop lady in the early noughties and rewarded with a slap-up meal and a seat in the directors' box to watch her beloved Sheffield Wednesday.

She also fondly recalls taking up an invitation to the school prom a couple of years ago from students at Yewlands as a thank you for her dedication to the job.

"I'd always wanted to go to a prom so it was lovely to be invited, and I had a great night at Tankersley Manor, where it was held," she said.

As for the lowlight, that came around eight years ago when a brick was lobbed at her face, breaking her jawbone, while she was on duty.

Marilyn pictured outside Sheffield City Hall with other lollipop men and ladies

Marilyn pictured outside Sheffield City Hall with other lollipop men and ladies

Despite the shocking nature of that incident and the severity of her injuries, she bravely returned to work just a couple of days later.

"It was very painful but it didn't put me off doing my job at all. I had a day off and then I was glad to be back at work," she said.

Although she is stepping down as a lollipop lady, Marilyn, who lives in Parson Cross, will continue to work as a dinner lady at Meynell Primary School - a role she has fulfilled for the last 25 years.

Grant Bryce-Stephen, assistant headteacher at Yewlands Academy, said: "Mal, as everyone here knows her, is an absolute star. Her resilience and dedication are an inspiration for all the staff and students here.

"Since she announced she was retiring from the role, I've had lots of children telling me they can't believe she's going, and she will be sorely missed."

The Star recently revealed how the number of lollipop people in Sheffield has fallen by a quarter over the last four years.

But Marilyn is due to be replaced, Sheffield Council confirmed, as it thanked her for her contribution over the years.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said: "On behalf of the council, I would like to thank Marilyn for her hard work, commitment and dedication and we wish her well for the future.

"Over the last 34 years working as a school crossing patrol officer, Marilyn has contributed to keeping thousands of Sheffield children safe whilst on their way to and from school.

"We will be recruiting a new school crossing patrol officer for Yewlands shortly."