A MUCH-loved lollipop lady who started the job as a dare has celebrated 45 years in the role.

Susan Chilton is a familiar face outside Our Lady of Victories Catholic Primary School in Guard House Road, Keighley, where she has helped youngsters safely cross the road twice a day since 1978.

The dedicated 73-year-old – who has been described as a "treasured local celebrity” – has never missed one of her shifts in the morning or afternoon over all those years.

Susan, who lives in Keighley, told us: “I keep going because I love what I do.

“It is a big part of my life.

“The children, the parents and the staff at the school, they are all so nice.

“It is a very important role, helping the children to cross the road safely, and it's also very rewarding as you feel like you are making a difference in the community.”

Talking about how she became a lollipop lady in the first place, Susan recalls: “I actually started doing it for a dare.

“The role was vacant and someone said to me ‘go on, I dare you to do this job’.

“And the rest, as they say, is history.”

Many of the people who take their children to and from school now were looked after by Susan when they themselves were youngsters.

“It is nice to see that,” she said.

“I often find myself saying to the kids ‘I helped your mum or dad cross the road, you know’, which interests them.”

Susan said she once got knocked over while carrying out her job – but she did not let that stop her.

“I am still here!” she said.

“It can be quite a dangerous job – you basically put your life in drivers’ hands.

“But I’m still here come rain or shine, wind or snow, whatever the weather.”

And she said she does not have any plans to hang up her lollipop and high-visibility jacket anytime soon.

“As long as I’ve got my health, I will still be around,” she added.

“I like to say I’m 37, not 73!”

Parents call Susan “legendary” and “part of the furniture”.

John Devlin, the executive headteacher at the school, which has around 250 pupils, describes Susan as “fantastic”.

“She is a local celebrity,” he added.

“Whatever the weather, she is always out there with a smile on her face.

“She’s just fantastic.”