A LASTING tribute has been paid to a Barrhead lollipop man who died last year.

Pupils at Hillview Primary dedicated a “buddy bench”to Gerry Hughes, 73, who became immensely popular with children and parents during his six years at the school.

The pupils were supported by members of St Andrew’s Boys Brigade who led a fundraising drive to pay for the bench which now takes pride of place in the school’s playground.

Staff say the bench will act as a secure place where teachers will offer a listening ear to pupils – something Gerry specialised in during his time at the school.

Janette Black, headteacher at Hillview Primary, formerly Springhill and Auchenback, said: “We want to make sure all of our children feel safe and secure in the playground, which Gerry did.

“St Andrew’s Boys Brigade wanted to fundraise for a buddy bench in memory of our former lollipop man Gerry Hughes.

“The school collected from parents and the Boys Brigade. We’ve only just received the bench but we were able to get a commemorative plaque.”

The plaque reads: “In memory of our lollipop man, Gerry Hughes, who always took time to chat and cheer us up.”

Gerry started his job as a lollipop man at the age of 67 which also saw him spend time helping kids to cross the road safely at Barrhead Railway Station.

But that was not the only reason he was so well-known and well-liked in Barrhead.

Gerry was also a former president of Arthurlie Football Club and the licensee of Arthurlie Social Club – a position he held for more than 20 years.

His daughter, Julie, told the Barrhead News her dad would have been incredibly proud of the children’s tribute.

She said: “I don’t think my dad realised himself how much he meant to the community.”