Retiring lollipop man Sean McCabe was in tears as two school choirs performed songs and poems for him during an emotional send-off.
Dozens of children from two schools in Lindley gathered at St Stephen’s Parish Church for a special service which Sean hadn’t known about until a few days ago.
After being handed gifts by parents and teachers, Sean, 70, wiped away a few tears as he said a fond farewell.
The popular Irishman said: “I will miss having a laugh and a joke with the children every day.
"The parents have been brilliant with me over the years. Thank you for this – I don’t deserve it.”
He added: “I want to thank the children for being so nice to me every day. This job is a difficult job but a beautiful job when we have got children like you who have a laugh, a joke and say hello and good morning. I will miss you all.”
Sean, who is leaving after 11 years in the role, said he was retiring as he had child care commitments to a grandchild and for health reasons.
He praised the “99.9%” of drivers who were kind and patient, adding: “Only the odd one has called me names. One said ‘go back to Ireland’ but it was water off a duck’s back. I’ve also seen people texting and driving with one hand.”
His final day keeping children safe is December 22.
Head teachers at two local schools paid warm tribute to him during the service.
Catherine Jubbs, head at the local junior school, said everyone would miss Sean’s ‘high fives’ while Nicola Beaumont, head of the infant school, told Sean: “You have built up a fantastic relationship among children but parents as well. We will miss your lovely smile and your high fives.”
One parent said: “He is more than a lollipop man. His service to the village is legendary.”
Clr Cahal Burke also praised Sean and said: “He has never missed a day in 11 years. It’s a challenging job but he’s always patient even with motorists who aren’t always keen to be guided by him.”
* Kirklees Council has yet to find a replacement for Sean. The job involves two hours a day, five days a week, and pays £8.19 an hour.