FROM top-flight sports stars to high flying broadcasters — she’s helped thousands of school children cross a busy road in a career spanning four decades.
And yesterday, the new lord mayor Cllr Brian Bermingham led tributes to one of the country’s longest-serving lollipop ladies, Catherine Appleby, as Scoil Mhuire gan Smál primary school in Glasheen marked her retirement.
Since 1968 — hail, rain or shine — school warden Mrs Appleby took up her position at the bottom of School Avenue, off Glasheen Road, on every day of the 183 days of the primary school year.
Dressed in her white ankle-length school warden jacket and hat, and armed with her sign, she oversaw up to 2.5 million safe crossings of the Glasheen Road.
Among the young pupils under her watch were hurling legend Jimmy Barry Murphy, RTÉ soccer correspondent Tony O’Donoghue, RTÉ commissioning editor Kevin Lenihan, rugby coach Michael Bradley and sports journalist and author, Dave Hannigan.
She retired in April and said she didn’t want a fuss, but school principal Michael Daly said everyone felt she should be honoured for her years of dedication.
“She was the first person that so many people, parents and students, met every day on their way to school. She was a wonderful ambassador,” she said.
Pupils, parents, teachers and past pupils gathered at the school yesterday for an emotional ceremony to honour her. She was accompanied by her daughter, Jane.
The board of management and parents’ association made presentations and the city council also presented her with a brooch bearing the city’s coat of arms.
Mrs Appleby said she was delighted with the honour and said she hopes to spend her retirement gardening, travelling and spending time with friends.
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