Former lollipop lady returns to the Harborough district - at the age of 104!

Hilda Swarbrick's got her birthday wish to take on the role she loved once again

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 11:58 am
Hilda Swarbrick celebrated her 104th birthday by becoming a lollipop lady once again pictured with past and present students on Orchard Road in Broughton Astley. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A 104-year-old woman's birthday wish came true when she returned to the Harborough district to take up the role of lollipop lady once again.

Hilda Swarbrick is known by many as the former lollipop lady in Broughton Astley.

And her birthday wish to pick up the stick once again was granted after her care home worked together with Orchard Church of England Primary School in the village.

Hilda Swarbrick celebrated her 104th birthday by becoming a lollipop lady once again pictured with past and present students on Orchard Road in Broughton Astley. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Hilda said: "It was lovely to come back for a few hours. I loved that job.

"The younger kids didn't know who I was and they must have wondered what I was doing with my walker - but I met some of the former pupils I knew and it was just lovely to see them again."

As a young adult, Hilda worked as a lollipop lady for over a decade. She was adored by many and always had sweets in hand to give to the children. She quickly became a favourite and is remembered still to this day.

Talking about her former days, she said: “I loved being a lollipop lady and seeing all those children’s beautiful faces lit up when I used to give them a sweet."

Hilda Swarbrick celebrated her 104th birthday by becoming a lollipop lady once again pictured with past and present students on Orchard Road in Broughton Astley. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Hilda has been a resident of Cherrytree Care Home in Countesthorpe for four years.

Throughout the years, she has shared her love for knitting with her fellow residents and has made many friends since moving to the home at the age of 100. “Knitting is my happy place,” said Hilda.

She now knits blankets that are donated to Leicestershire hospitals.

The home manager, Prity Somani, and the team members at Cherrytree Care Home worked tirelessly to make her wish come true on September 19.

Hilda Swarbrick celebrated her 104th birthday by becoming a lollipop lady once again pictured with past and present students on Orchard Road in Broughton Astley. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“Hilda has a kind nature, full heart and is incredibly generous. We are so lucky to have her as part of our family,” said Prity.

More about Hilda

Born on September 19, 1917, Hilda grew up in Sutton In The Elms surrounded by the beautiful Leicestershire countryside. Her parents had eight children, to which Hilda was the youngest.

Hilda’s childhood was filled with family, love and music. She went on many holidays with her family to Jersey and travelled abroad to holiday destinations such as Spain and Yugoslavia. Her Father, George Gurney, played the violin and the piano. Each time the sweet melody of the instruments would echo through her home, it would ignite her love for music even more. It resonated with Hilda so much so it continued into her adult life as her husband, Victor, played the saxophone in a band.

After meeting Victor, the two lovebirds married each other in a Church outside of Coalville. As she is never one to shy away from hard work, Hilda and her husband built their entire home on the Brooke in Broughton Astley with their bare hands. They both were determined to make it as comfortable and homely as they possibly could.

While her husband went away to work, managing Mattsons Furgasons, Hilda too went to work as a lollipop lady. For a decade she was adored by many, always had sweets in hand to give to the children. In her spare time, Hilda and her husband would spend the evenings dancing her favourite dance - The Waltz.

Hilda’s dating advice to anyone out there is to find someone who can make you laugh.

In addition to sharing her love with her husband and her son, David, Hilda also had enough to give to her dog Paddy and her cat Kitty. Her kind nature, full heart, and generosity is something she has carried throughout her life. From making clothes with her mother and sisters to sewing clothes for her family. Hilda loves to knit, a passion she continues to pursue at Cherrytree Care Home. She lovingly knits blankets and scarves and sends them to children across the globe.

So what's Hilda's advice to a long life? “To live a happy clean life,” she said.