Surprise as loyal lollipop 'pop' turns 80

SAFETY FIRST: 80-year-old Kevin Berg has been working Ipswich school crossings for 21 years.
SAFETY FIRST: 80-year-old Kevin Berg has been working Ipswich school crossings for 21 years. David Nielsen

IF YOU attended school at Brassall or Blair over the past 21 years, there's a good chance you'll recognise this face.

As the first person students see when they arrive at the school gate in the morning, Kevin Berg is more than just a familiar sight.

Described as the grandfather figure who stands watch over the front gate of Blair State School, Mr Berg also performs a vital safety function.

His devotion over more than two decades hasn't gone unnoticed, with students from Blair giving their favourite lollipop man a surprise rendition of happy birthday on Monday, after Mr Berg turned 80.

"I had a sneaking suspicion that they were planning something," Mr Berg said of his birthday surprise.

"It was a really nice thing for them to do.

"I think I'm still very lucky to be able to do this job at my age. It is a rewarding job and it is good for me physically and mentally."

Mr Berg was lollipop man at Brassall State School for many years before moving across to Blair about three years ago.

Despite his age, he has no plans to retire and wants to keep patrolling the front of Blair State School for the foreseeable future.

"It has been so rewarding to see so many kids growing up and meeting all the parents," he said.

Blair principal Peter Lund said that although lollipop men and women were employed by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, their function was very much as a guardian of the school gate.

"Kevin is like a grandfather figure to the children," he said.

"People like Kevin do more than just patrol the crossing, they know which kids cross the road every morning and they let us know when they see something unusual.

"If they see a child hanging around, they know that their parents are running late or something is wrong. They don't get enough recognition."

Topics:  blair state school brassall state school lollipop man

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