A LOLLIPOP man who has helped a generation of Petersfield children on their way is hanging up his stop sign.

Simply The Best was blaring out of a mother’s stereo when Bill Stuart finished his last shift in Hylton Road last Friday.

And few parents would disagree as he’s been a hugely popular figure since donning his fluorescent jacket for the first time nearly a decade ago.

Bill, who is stepping down for health reasons, was given a special assembly at Petersfield Infant School the day before in recognition of his work.

It was an emotional experience, with numerous parents and children passing on their gratitude and thanks during his last shift.

He said: “They sang the school anthem which I first heard 18 years ago when my son was in Year R, so that brought things back a bit.

“I’ve always liked supporting children and I feel as though I’ve done what I was meant to do. I’ve made friends with parents and influenced children and I try to get them all to say thank you when they cross. I will miss the job so much.”

Bill worked at Herne Junior School for 13 years before leaping at the chance to take the Hylton Road position. 

Rainy days are the worst thing about the job but the dry days, happy faces and smiles make up for that.

A collection at the school to help with Bill’s retirement raised £730, with many staff members praising his “warm smile” and the “huge impact” he’s made on children’s lives over the last decade.

“Your replacement has huge shoes to fill,” said Connie and Martha Chapman, with Peter Jolly calling Bill “a legend’.

He added: “You played a significant part in all three of our children’s lives, and thank you for your commitment and for always wearing shorts whatever the weather.”

Another parent added: “Happy retirement, Bill – you deserve this rest.”