Thursday, February 22, 2024

BENCH REMEMBERS DEDICATED BALLYGOWAN LOLLIPOP LADY

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A MEMORIAL bench dedicated to a popular Ballygowan ‘lollypop lady’ has been installed by Ards and North Down Council.

The bench, dedicated to the long serving and dedicated Colleen Standley, was put in place by the council with a plaque bearing the message, ‘Happy smiling always content’.

Beginning her journey as a crossing guard in 1987, the Ballygowan woman helped generations of pupils from both Braniel Primary and Lisnasharragh High School cross the road.

Described as a ‘grafter’ by daughter, Chantal – who spearheaded efforts to install the bench – Colleen also worked at local factory, CCP Grandsen, from 1994. She had often cycled from her shifts at the crossing points to then work at the factory.

Retiring in 2014, the respected figure at the local roundabout sadly passed on the April 22, 2021, and is remembered fondly by those she once helped cross the busy streets, and her family.

She was the mother or three – Chantal Hardy-Archer, Sarah Standley and Craig Standley – a grandmother to six, and great-grandmother to one, though she would sadly not live to see her great-grandchild.

Her daughter Chantal, appealed to the local council after the death of her mother almost two years ago. It was finally installed on Monday, March 26, almost two years after the Ballygowan woman’s death.

“We were hoping to have it for mum’s birthday, or Mother’s Day. Now mum’s anniversary is coming up on April 22,” Chantal explained. “It is nice that the bench will be in for the anniversary.”

Chantal said the placement of the memorial bench ‘felt very fitting’. Thankfully we got it, and the best thing is, it is in the area where mum stood for almost 27 years doing the crossing patrol.

 

“She loved the job. The social aspect of it as well as what she was doing in terms of helping the children across the road.”

“There had been many children she helped cross the road who became young adults and parents themselves and she was then helping their children to cross.”

Some of the children Colleen helped over her nearly three decade career even went to pay their respects at her funeral, offering comfort to the recently bereaved family.

“She was a real grafter. very hard working, very kind and thoughtful. Mum loved her wee cups of tea and a sweet treat to go with it, as well as being sentimental and loving her verses and quotes.”

 

Colleen was not the only staple feature in Ballygown, the factory worker and lolly-pop lady was scarcely seen without her dog, Izzy.

“Everybody knew her and Izzy, with Izzy being outside the shops. A lot of people in Ballygowan, if you mentioned mum, they would know her wee dog,” Chantal added.

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