ONE of Renfrewshire’s longest-serving lollipop ladies has hung up her stick after spending 40 years helping kids to cross the road.

Betty McDougall has safely steered tens of thousands of children to and from lessons over the past four decades.

She has served five Renfrew schools in that time, becoming a familiar face to different generations.

Betty first slipped into a high-vis coat at the age of 35.

However, she staged her final crossing patrol in Mitchell Avenue, Renfrew, last week.

Betty, 75, decided to leave her job as her health isn’t as good as it once was but she is happy to have built up so many fond memories over the years.

She told The Gazette: “I took the job when my three boys were young, as I was able to fit it around them going to school.

“It was also a good way for me to get out and about in the fresh air.

“There are some really nice children and it’s good to hear them being so polite, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank-you.’

“They can come up with some good chat, which makes each day interesting.”

Betty admits she takes real pride in having helped three generations of some families stay safe while crossing to and from school.

Her long career has seen her on patrol outside St James Primary, Arkleston Primary, Newmains Primary, Kirklandneuk Primary and the old Moorpark Primary.

Betty said: “It is a bit surreal sometimes to see how fast the kids grow up.

“Some of the people I helped as children come back as parents or grandparents. It all happens so quickly.”

Renfrew woman Margaret Laird can recall her son, who is now 50, being helped across the road by Betty back in the 1970s.

She said: “Everyone knows who Betty is and it will be a shame to see her go. She is very well liked.

“I wish her all the best and I’m sure many other mums and dads will too.”

Councillor Cathy McEwan, convener of Renfrewshire’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, has also thanked Betty for her years of dedicated service.

She told The Gazette: “Having worked as a school crossing patroller in Renfrew for around 40 years, Betty has now decided it is time to pack up her yellow coat and lollipop ‘stop’ sign for the last time.

“We thank her for helping children to cross the road safely for many years as they walked to primary school and we hope she enjoys her retirement.”