ISABELLA (Daisy) Collum has been serving the community of Fivemiletown for the past 42 years as a Lollipop Lady at Fivemiletown Primary School.

Isabella (73) “never expected” to receive an honour from The Queen and was “completely honoured” when she was informed of her nomination to receive a BEM.

She had remained tight-lipped until 10:30pm last Wednesday, when she was officially allowed to tell her friends, family, and neighbours about her exciting news.

Isabella has always loved her job as a lollipop lady, she said. “I really enjoy it. I love working with all the wee children, and their parents and all the generations before that.

"It has been lovely to watch all the children grow up. I love the wee children.”

Reflecting on watching the children moving through the primary school years and the different stages of the school year, Isabella said: “In June, they are all in tears, the older children, because they are going away [to secondary school] and you won’t see their wee faces again.

"But September is the most exciting time, I must say. It's the start of a new school year, and the start of a new term, and there are wee four-year olds starting out, and they get told that this is the Lollipop Lady and to listen to the Lollipop Lady, and it's lovely to see the wee faces on them.”

2020 had another major milestone for Isabella and her family when she and her husband, Victor, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August.

She laughed as she said: My husband here says he deserves a medal too – an OBE for putting up with me for 50 years!”

The couple have two grown-up daughters, Janet and Amanda.

Isabella also works in the Co-op in Fivemiletown as a cleaner, a role which she has held for 18 years.

She has never had a day off sick from her busy role, which she began aged 31.

When she started her job, she was the youngest Lollipop Lady in Northern Ireland. When asked if she she had any plans to retire, she said: “I have no plans to retire yet, especially when my health is still good and I’m able to carry on.

"I don’t know what I’d do with myself [in the event of retiring]. Just keeping going is the best thing to do.”