A LONG-serving lollipop man was given a surprise present as he marked his 80th birthday yesterday.

Wilf Freeman has been helping pupils at Bournemouth School for Girls get to class safely for many years in all weathers, but yesterday morning’s duty gave him a surprise he hadn’t bargained for.

Headteacher Alistair Brien arranged for the school’s Year 8 and 9 choirs to come out and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him.

Wilf, who has been a lollipop man since he retired as an engineer 20 years ago, said that his upcoming birthday was mentioned in an assembly at the school before Christmas.

He added: “This morning one or two of the girls remembered and said ‘Happy Birthday’ as well.

“The headmaster came marching across the road with 20 or 30 girls and some of the office staff were there as well.

“I kept my lollipop up as well so motorists were all watching. It was a nice surprise.”

Wilf took up his role after retiring from Flight Refuelling at Wimborne.

He said: “It keeps you active rather than sitting at home and it’s quite entertaining at times – I keep up with the latest girls’ fashions.

“You get plenty of clothes, so I’m probably the driest and warmest man on Castle Lane.”

Alistair added: “Wilf is a real trooper; he’s out in all weathers to make sure that the girls are safe as they cross the road.

“I only hope that I can be as fit and active as Wilf is when I get to 80 years old.”