Tatura’s Karen Franklin hangs up whistle and stop sign

By James Bennett

She watches them grow from nervous children to the big fish in the small pond.

For the past 22 years, Karen Franklin has ensured safety is the number one priority for Tatura Primary School pupils by being the lollipop lady at the Service St crossing.

Now she's hanging up the yellow vest, whistle and stop sign.

Mrs Franklin was a popular figure among not only students but also parents and staff. So popular, she was once invited to a wedding by a Tatura PS alumnus.

Mrs Franklin said her decision to retire came last year when a father dropped off his daughter at school.

“I remember him when he was a prep at the school,” she said.

“Now he's dropping off his daughter to school.

“That's when I thought it might be time to spend more time with the family,” she said with a laugh.

As part of starting school Mrs Franklin would conduct a safety demonstration to the foundation students about the importance of not "mucking around" near the crossing.

Mrs Franklin would reward those who followed her instructions by handing out a school lunch order to the student who was showing exemplary behaviour while using the crossing.

“I'm going to miss watching the kids grow up from when they start prep until Year 6,” she said.

“I would joke with them that they might be big but wait until you hit high school next year.

“I would always try to learn the students, staff and parents names.”

Mrs Franklin said she planned to spend time travelling including a trip up to Queensland to visit family.

Principal Susanne Gill said the school was losing a true personality.

“Karen was certainly firm with the kids but also kind to everyone,” she said.

“She would instil safety into the children and added her own personal touch.

“Two years ago she was nominated for crossing supervisor of the year.”

Mrs Gill handed over flowers to Mrs Franklin last week to say farewell.

While the students went crazy with the chalk, writing a colourful message of ‘thanks'.