Happy retirement after helping generations of pupils in Beddau
The Council’s longest-serving School Crossing Patrol Officer has retired after 35 years of service. For a period lasting almost half her life, Marion has helped pupils and families in Beddau walk safely to and from school each day.
Marion Walker, 75, has served the community since 1989, halting the traffic to help pupils safely cross the road each morning and afternoon, while on their daily walks to and from three local schools – Llwyncrwn Primary, Castellau Primary and Bryncelynnog Comprehensive. Her final day at work was on Friday, October 27, which was the last day before the school half term break.
Marion was first employed by the former Mid Glamorgan County Council before transferring to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council upon its formation in the 1990s. She started her role at the bottom of Llwyncrwn Road, before moving to a new location at Llantrisant Road where she has remained all these years.
Marion recently won an award from Road Safety Wales in recognition of her years of service and for being the County Borough’s longest-serving School Crossing Patrol – which included being presented with a £100 prize.
Speaking about her retirement and her final day in the role, Marion said: “I don’t think it’s sunk in at the moment, but it’s half term now so next Monday it probably will. I’ll wake up and I’ll think, ‘I don’t have to go through my usual routine!’ I’ve loved it really, I didn’t want to stop but I’ve been having a few aches and pains, and the bad weather is coming up, so now is the right time.
“I wasn’t planning for anything on my last day – I was just going to finish and that would be it. But I had a call and I think the school wanted to show their appreciation for the 35 years. I went into Llwyncrwn and they gave flowers, a card and a box of chocolates, and the comp also sent some flowers too.”
Marion says that she will spend her well-earned spare time doing things that she enjoys, including working in her garden when there’s good weather, as well as reading and watching quiz shows on television. She added that one of the main reasons that she enjoyed the role so much was because it was outdoors, stemming from a love of walking and exploring in her childhood.
“I like the seclusion of it, and being out in the fresh air – it’s very good for the system,” Marion added. “I worked through Covid whenever the school was open, and touch wood I never caught it. I think it was because my work was outdoors. I’ve always thought that working outside helped me to recover from illnesses like colds far more quickly – more so than being indoors in the warm.
“In my childhood I lived in Saint Nicholas for 27 years before I came up here. We had a big garden which I enjoyed, and I also spent a lot of time walking in the fields and lanes – you’d get to Culverhouse Cross and it was like going to the countryside back then. I’d walk for hours and hours, and I think that stood me in good stead for working outside, all those years in the fresh air.
“The job hasn’t changed too much, except the road has got busier. It’s been a huge part of my life – I’m 75 now and been doing it for more than 34 years.”
Stephen Williams, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Director of Highways, Streetcare and Transportation Services, said:
“Congratulations to Marion for serving her community in Beddau with such dedication for 35 years, as the Road Safety Unit’s longest-serving officer. Marion’s work within our Road Safety Team has played a vital role in ensuring young people and their families have stayed safe when travelling to and from school each day.
“Marion must have helped thousands of people since first taking up her role with the former County Council in 1989. She has showed great commitment each day and turned up to work in all weather. Marion will be greatly missed by the schools in Beddau, and we wish her a well-deserved happy retirement.”
The Council’s School Crossing Patrol Service provides a vital role in ensuring the safety of adults and children while travelling on their journeys to and from school. The Service is a dedicated part of the Council’s Road Safety Team, and everyone within the team also wishes Marion a very happy retirement.