By Kim Reader
Meet the grandmother who is thought to be Britain’s longest serving lollipop lady after 48 years of helping kids cross the road – and no plans to quit any time soon.
Heather Dalton Morris, 78, first picked up her lollipop stick on November 2, 1970 and has since helped schoolchildren safely cross the street millions of times.
The grandmother-of-three initially believed the job was voluntary and only planned to do it for a week.
But popular council worker Heather, who is also a mum to two sons, loved the role so much she never looked back and was stunned when her first pay cheque of £9 came through.
Helping children from two schools cross a busy road for almost five decades saw Heather awarded an MBE in January 2010 – an honour she is proud her late husband Bill Morris knew about before he died that same month.
Heather, of Sale, Greater Manchester, said: “The old lollipop lady was leaving and my dad was on the police force so they knew me well.
“They came and asked if I would stand in for a week until they got a replacement. At first I was worried about the boys but they were at the school and the crossing was so close to home that I agreed.
“So I thought I was just going to be a lollipop lady for a week but then they asked me to stay for a second week and I did – and I haven’t looked back since.
“I really love it. I love the kids and the kids love me. I hope that doesn’t sound big-headed but they are really first class.
“They’re really polite. I can’t knock them. They always thank me and shout ‘love you, Heather’. They’re really lovely kids. It’s so nice. It’s really a first class job.
“I never even think about packing it in. I plan to be a lollipop lady for many years to come. It gets me up and out of bed and I really enjoy it. I think I might be the longest-serving.
“I thought it was voluntary at first. I didn’t know I would get paid. When my first pay cheque came through from the council I went to the police sergeant and asked ‘what’s this?’.
“I couldn’t believe it when he told me it was my wages. It was £9 and some pence. It was an amazing feeling. I thought I was rich.
“Bill told me to go out and treat myself so I went out and bought some knee-high boots.
“I felt fantastic when I got the letter asking if I would accept an MBE. I got that for 40 years service. It was such an honour.
“Bill had been poorly for a few years but he knew I was getting my MBE and he was so proud. I’m glad he knew I was getting it.
“He passed away in January so my sons took me to Buckingham Palace to get my award.”
After marrying hairdresser Bill in 1960, Heather decided to give up her job as a librarian to be a full-time mum to their boys William Morris Jr, now 55, and Michael Morris, now 53.
But as the lollipop lady role only took minutes down the road from home and her sons went to the local school, Heather decided she could fit it in around motherhood.
After being moved by the council, Heather has stood on the corner of Glebelands Road and Park Road for 40 years, helping generations home from school.
The lollipop lady does the five-minute walk to her spot, dubbed ‘Heather’s corner’ by her fans, five days a week to be there for 3pm on the dot.
Come rain or shine, Heather is dedicated to getting ‘her kids’ safely across the street.
And in 2015, the grandmother’s dedication was celebrated by her local supporters when graphic artists Anna Chopping and Zoe Taylor set up a crowdfunder to create a mosaic for Heather.
The mosaic plaque is now proudly displayed near the crossing at ‘Heather’s corner’.
Heather said: “It’s funny the kids that use my crossing now, I helped their parents cross and their parents and so it goes on.
“Obviously the kid I first helped cross are all grown up now. They still come and say ‘hi’. I don’t always remember them right away but it’s so nice.
“The job keeps me really active. I’m out on my corner in all weather and it doesn’t bother me.
“Sometimes I’ll have a little moan about it being rainy again but I get all wrapped up, head out and get on with it.
“If I’m feeling ill or down I just tell myself ‘if I’m not there, who’s going to help my children cross the road?’ and carry on.
“I’ve been there for so long everyone calls the corner ‘Heather’s corner’. It’s lovely.
“I even have a mosaic plaque at the place where I stand. It’s beautiful and the ladies who did it were so great.
“They said they’ll come to update it if I reach my 50 years and I told them ‘I’ll be here’.”