A devoted lollipop lady was mown down and killed by a school bus as horrified pupils watched on helplessly, it emerged today.
Tragic Audrey Williams, 79, suffered serious head injuries after being struck by the single decker bus just before 9am on Thursday.
Dozens of five and six year-olds broke down in floods of tears as the pensioner was thrown through the air by the force of the collision.
Audrey, who has been a lollipop lady for 17 years, was just five minutes from the end of her shift when the Dodds coach, carrying over 30 pupils, came ‘flying’ around the corner.
In a statement yesterday, her brother Wallace Allan and niece Frances McGill, paid tribute which read: ”Audrey was a much-loved lady with a heart of gold.
”She thoroughly enjoyed her job as a lollipop lady – she was always happiest in the company of children.
”She played cello for many enjoyable years in the Ayr and Prestwick, Strathspey and Reel Society and was often to be seen walking her dog through the local countryside.
”She will be sorely missed.”
Concetta O’Ware (corr), 16, was on the bus headed for school when it struck Audrey outside Forehill Primary School in Ayr, Scotland.
The Queen Margaret Academy pupil said: ”We were speeding around the corner and she was in the middle of the road.
”There was a loud bang, then she was lying in the road and her lollipop was under the bus.
”There were kids standing right behind her when it happened. They were just Primary 1 and 2 children and they were so upset.
”One little girl was clutching hold of her Barbie in floods of tears.”
Around a dozen pupils from nearby Forehill Primary School had just crossed the road when the collision occurred on Thursday morning.
It is thought the driver, who often does the school run, slammed on the brakes but was unable to avoid hitting Audrey, who had just escorted youngsters across the road.
The force of the collision sent the frail pensioner, who was well known locally, flying through the air leaving her with catastrophic injuries to her head and spine.
A passing doctor administered CPR before paramedics rushed her to Ayr Hospital, where she died around 12 hours later at 9pm.
Audrey, who lived near Coylton, near Ayr, was a former co-director of a jewellery company.
She wed her first husband in 1970 but he died a year later. In 1972, she married William Williams and they were together until his death in 1997 at the age of 75.
Audrey had no children of her own, but had two stepchildren from her second marriage, who live in England.
Forehill Primary schoolchildren have been offered counselling to deal with the emotional trauma of the death and yesterday took part in a vigil to remember Audrey.
Headteacher Sheena Templeton said: ”I’m very saddened to hear our lovely lollipop lady Audrey has died.
”This is devastating news for the school community and our thoughts and sympathies are with her family and friends at this difficult time.
”Support will be available as required to anyone affected by today’s event and once this tragic news has had time to sink in, we can consider as a school how we can best remember our lollipop lady.”
Friends yesterday paid tribute to Audrey who they remember as a kind and popular lady who would bake cakes and bring flowers to neighbours.
Pal Jess Edgar, 52, said: ”Audrey used to help my eldest son cross the road aged five, he’s 22 now and she’s still a lollipop lady.
”She’s magic, she’s such a character and we often go walking with her dog Bracken, who she loves.
”She’s such a close friend and I just hope she’s alright.”
Audrey’s niece, Frances McGill and brother Wallace Allan and his wife Marion, were by her side when she died in intensive care on Thursday night.
No one has been charged but Strathclyde Police were yesterday still making door-to-door enquiries and interviewing children and parents.
Audrey’s neighbour Joyce Richmond, 48, said: ”She’s always been out helping the children so everyone knows her even if they have nothing to do with the school.
”She’s a lovely woman, it’s just so terrible and everyone is very concerned for her.”
No children were hurt in the accident and the 55 year old driver, who has been quizzed over the incident, was uninjured.
Dozens of devastated schoolchildren laid flowers at the site where Audrey was killed including tearful Kirsty Smith, 10, who laid a bouquet of white daisies with her mum Judy with the message: ”Audrey, we will really miss you, lots of love, Jude, Phil, Lindsey, Fergus, Kirsty and Fiona Smith.”
Other cards talked of her ”cheery soul” and ”kind” nature.