Tears were shed as popular lollipop man Fred Collier helped young children get into school safely for the final time.
The 79-year-old has stood outside Hetton Lyons Primary for the past 14 years as a crossing patrol, but the former miner has decided it is time to hang up his stick and retire.
Fred, who travels to the school three times each day on the bus from his home in Shiney Row, will now be spending more time with his wife Jean, 79.
“I started in 2004 and I’ve always enjoyed it because the parents and children have been so nice,” Fred told the Echo.
“You have to concentrate a lot because it’s a busy road that passes the school.”
Fred, who worked at Herrington and Vane Tempest collieries as a miner, was the guest at a special school assembly where pupils got to say a proper goodbye and thank him for his years of service.
“We’ve let Fred come along and give out certificates to the pupils,” said headteacher Susan Bell.
“He has been very emotional because he’s been here so long, from when we were at the old school site to the one we’re at now.
“Fred comes here in the morning for the start of the school day, comes back at 11.15am for the nursery children and then back again for the end of school at 3pm.
“With him not living local to the school, he really has gone above and beyond the call of duty and we can’t thank him enough.”
Fred and school chiefs are now, however, concerned about the future and are looking to replace Fred with a new patrol person.
Sunderland City Council has confirmed it is hoping to appoint a replacement as soon as possible.
Sadly, Fred was the victim of a hit-and-run incident when he was knocked over by a car on the school crossing last summer.
Parents managed to identify the driver who was then prosecuted, while thankfully Fred suffered only minor injuries.
The school caters for 430 youngsters.
“That road gets all of the traffic coming from Four Lane Ends, Murton and the A19 so there’s a lot coming past,” said Fred.
“I don’t like the idea of the crossing being without a lollipop man or woman for the children.
Mrs Bell added: “It’s a really dangerous road with all of the emergency vehicles and lorries that go past during the day.
“I know Fred is concerned that at the minute we haven’t got a replacement sorted.
“We are hoping that the road safety team at the council will be able to appoint a new lollipop man.”