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

Susan Chilton is a very familiar face outside Our Lady of Victories Catholic Primary School in 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.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Susan at workSusan at work (Image: Mike Simmonds/Newsquest)

Susan, who lives in Keighley, told the Telegraph & Argus: "I keep going because I love what I do.

"It's a big part of my life.

"The children, the parents, the staff at the school, they're all so nice.

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

Talking about how she became a lollipop lady, Susan recalled: "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 school now were looked after by Susan when they themselves were youngsters.

"It's 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."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Well done for all your years of service, Susan!Well done for all your years of service, Susan! (Image: Mike Simmonds/Newsquest)

Susan said she once got knocked over while on the job - but she didn't let that stop her.

"I'm 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."

And she said she does not have any plans to hang up her lollipop and hi-vis jacket any time soon.

"As long as I've got my health, I'll 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, executive headteacher at the school, on Guard House Road, described Susan as "fantastic".

"She's a local celebrity," he added.

"Whatever the weather, she's always out there with a smile on her face.

"She's just fantastic."