A WIFE of more than three decades has paid tribute to her ‘rock’ who continued to serve as a Hampshire school lollipop man until days before his recent death, aged 81.

Terry Burnell was admitted to hospital shortly after his twice daily shift seeing the children of Halterworth Primary School in Romsey safely across Botley Road.

He was a well-known figure in the town, having lived there throughout his 25 year stint as an HGV bullion driver with Securicor.

Wife Jan said: “He was so good and kind. He’d do anything for anybody. He was my rock, quite a character and just a very good man.

“Being a lollipop man was his pride and joy. He loved all the children and was always given great respect by them.”

After a stint with the Merchant Navy as a teenager, sailing from his native Devon, Terry moved to Romsey where he worked as a steel erector for 17 years.

Terry met Jan when he offered to help neighbours move her mother into sheltered accommodation.

The pair hit it off and Terry immediately switched sports cars for caravans and enjoyed family life with children Mark and Sarah and a succession of Labradors.

Jan added: “Up until we met, Terry hadn’t really had a proper family life, but he was wonderful. He did so much for both my children. He was their Dad in every way and was always there for them. He taught Mark to drive and walked Sarah down the aisle. He also did lots for my mother and would take her a cooked breakfast every weekend.”

During his Securicor employment, Terry’s were the safe hands who continued to transfer £1m in cash after a masked gang tried to pull off what would have been Britain’s biggest cash robbery, near Winchester in 1994.

After retiring at 65, he took on the role at Halterworth School where he enjoyed high fives from all the children and offered treats to any school run dogs who were able to sit before crossing the road. Former pupils riding their bikes to Mountbatten would often treat Terry to a chocolate bar.

Terry and Jan, who loved spending time in the New Forest walking their dogs, lived in Whitenap for many years before moving to Rownhams six years ago.

Terry also leaves grandchildren Isla, Esme, Harris and Alissa.