Pupils, teachers and parents at a Norwich school are mourning the loss of their long-serving former lollipop lady, who lost her two-year battle with womb cancer on Thursday.

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Marilyn Winsdale, who was a popular lollipop lady at Avenue Junior School for 30 years before retiring in July 2010, passed away at her Cubitt Road home aged 65.

She had spent three weeks in hospital but returned to her home on Tuesday and passed away in the early hours of Thursday.

Mrs Winsdale was a well-known face around the area after standing at the top of Avenue Road in all weathers, every morning and afternoon, to see children safely across the road.

One of her four children, Dawn Hornagold, said: “She knew all the children’s names she gave them all a card on their birthdays, she did endless things for charity and sponsored numerous animals every month by direct debit.

“Mum will always be remembered for being vibrant and colourful, she had different colour hair all the time and when sadly cancer took her hair she had brightly-coloured wigs.

“She was always smiling and although she suffered a lot over the last year she always put everyone first.”

Mrs Winsdale also had two step-children, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

She was selected to be one of the “100 faces of Norwich” in a project run by The Mall Norwich, and her face still features on a picture board in the shopping mall.

She was also a massive fan of pop star Boy George, with Mrs Hornagold adding: “She absolutely adored Boy George, there is his merchandise all over the house and I think she owned every single he ever did!”

Mrs Hornagold also praised the chaplains at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for helping with a special occasion last Sunday.

She said: “My niece got married on Saturday and mum was too unwell to go but the chaplains did another wedding service on Sunday so that she could participate and she really enjoyed it.

“After Sunday she deteriorated quite quickly. Her family was everything to her.”

Headteacher at Avenue Junior School, Deborah Dismore, also paid tribute to Mrs Winsdale, saying: “Marilyn was a part of Avenues for many, many years. She was a popular local character who was generous with her time.

“She loved talking to the children and they in turn loved to chat with her and hear about her life. She really cared for all the Avenues children. She was well loved by the whole school community and she was sorely missed her when she retired.

“The children, parents and staff of Avenues, past and present, will remember her fondly.”

- Would you like to pay tribute to Mrs Winsdale? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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