LANCASHIRE's oldest lollipop lady has been helping residents get across the road safely for nearly 50 years.

Irene Reid, who was appointed an MBE in the 2012 Queen's New Year Honours list, has helped children and parents walk across the road from Berry Lane outside Longridge Church of England Primary School for 49 years.

Mrs Reid, who used to work at the Longridge Youth at Community Centre for 10 years, said: "I got presented with some champagne and flowers a few weeks ago.

"The picture went online and I got 400 comments saying 'I can remember she crossed me over towards Berry Lane'.

"I feel really honoured that most the kids that I crossover still remember me.

"I have been crossing children over for years and now I'm crossing over some of the grandmothers.

"I think when children first start school lollipop men and ladies are the first person they see.

"I'm not a teacher or official so it's nice to have someone who says 'hello' and 'how are you'.

"It's nice to see what they have done with their lives for the ones who live away.

Catherine Parkin, deputy head of the school and worked at the school for 11 years, said: "It's not just the length of the service that deserves. recognition, it's also the wider commitment to the children and families.

"It's the relationship with not just the children but the families as well which makes her special.

"She knows every child by name, knows the families and knows the road the children take home.

"Irene even remembers the children who left the school and keep in contact with them on their secondary school journeys to make sure they are safe.

"The school finishes at 3.30pm but Irene will sometimes hang around until after 4pm if there is an after school club going on to make sure the children get home safely."

A spokesman for Ribble Valley Police said: "It has come to our attention that Longridge lollipop lady Irene Reid has reached her 49th year helping our residents get across the road safely at peak times of the day.

"Well done Irene and thank you for your continued support."

Mrs Reid, who has six great grandchildren who all live in Longridge and will be celebrating her 50th year in the job year from March, added: ""I'm not retiring anytime soon.

"They will have to retch that lollipop out of my hands before I retire.

"I see no reason to sit home or to stop doing it."