THE Inverloch community is mourning the loss of Judy Hughes, a much-loved and well-known local school crossing supervisor.
Social media was inundated with tributes last week, following her sudden death on Tuesday afternoon, at the scene of a head-on collision on the South Gippsland Highway in Koonwarra at about 4.30pm.
Judy was a “machine”, working behind the scenes and on the front line to ensure the Easter Fair was a huge success every year, a post on the ‘Inverloch PS Easter Fair & Events’ page said last week.
There was no one more disappointed than Judy knowing that the Easter Fair was to be cancelled in 2020, the post said.
And the Inverloch community was “shattered” to hear of the tragic passing of the “world’s most loved lollipop lady,” the post read.
“Our thoughts and love go out to Judy’s immediate family and then it spreads to the community as a whole,” the post read.
“Every child who has attended Inverloch Primary School would have been touched by Judy’s love and kindness as she safely saw them cross our roads.
“Judy was the first face everyone saw upon arrival at school and on some days for some kids her smiles, jokes and inspiration were exactly what they needed to help encourage them into school.
“Judy nurtured all of our preppies making sure their first few weeks at school was not such a daunting task.
“Judy was the reason so many of us parents felt safe that the kids coming and going from school would do so safely – she knew every child’s name, she knew every parent or carer, every grandparent, dog and sibling.
“Judy was our school and without her, of course, the school will go on but it will be with an aura of sadness for some time whilst we all work through the grief of dealing with her loss.
“Rest in peace our wonderful lollipop lady knowing that you touched so many lives and brought so many smiles to so many faces we know our kids will stay safe with their angel watching out for them.
“This post is here if you would like to share photos or stories of Judy.”
Michelle Charlton: On behalf of all at St Joseph’s PS in Korumburra please accept our deepest sympathy. Judy was also our lollipop lady and school cleaner for many years. We are keeping Judy and your school community in our prayers xxx.
Mary Tye: She was just simply one of the best things about Inverloch. I’m devastated to think of crossing without her smile. She came to my daughter’s prep class on VIP day, because we didn’t have any local family. My daughter felt like a celebrity with Judy by her side.
Brianna Robb: When our little preppy started school last year she begged us for weeks to walk into school “Judy’s way” finally we caved in and did. But we had to park on the opposite side of the road because Savvy wanted to walk across the crossing. Little did we know then that Judy knew who Savvy was and our names too, she even knew Savvy’s little sister Ailee. Judy made Savvy feel special, important and that she mattered. It was the nicest way to start our school years knowing that Judy had our Savvy’s and all of the kids backs. It is with great sadness that we now have to celebrate this wonderful woman in past tense, but I think she knew more than anyone how much the kids and the community loved her.
Judy was recognised as the best in her field for the entire southeast region, which runs from the eastern suburbs to Sale, in mid-2018.
Judy was invited to attend the School Crossing Supervisor of the Year awards in Preston.
Inverloch-Kongwak Primary’s school council and its Kids Matter Action Team submitted Judy’s glowing nomination, and of the 198 nominees, she was judged to be the winner.
“I was shocked and very, very surprised,” Judy said at the time.
The event was well attended by school crossing supervisors and shire/council representatives from all over the state.
Loree-Lee Jamieson, leading teacher-student welfare at the school, submitted the nomination and at the time said the award was in recognition of Judy’s 11 years of dedication to the safety and wellbeing of children and adults of the Inverloch and Kongwak school communities.
“Judy is known for her warm, friendly, inclusive, caring and respectful nature,” she said at the time.
“She takes her role as crossing supervisor at Inverloch Primary School very seriously.
“A large percentage of the school population walks or rides to school, and Judy is the first school face the students see of a morning.
“She has developed strong relationships with all of the school students and their families.
“Judy knows every student and parent by their first name and welcomes them every morning with her friendly demeanour and outgoing presence.”
Ms Jamieson said Judy is a stickler for rules and regulations.
“She ensures she is up to date with training, road rules and shire expectations.
“Judy has a great relationship with local police officers and the council’s local laws team.
“Drivers beware. Judy carries a note pad at all times and ensures she writes down number plates and information that is necessary to keep the students and community safe.
“Every student from Prep to Year 6 has a thorough understanding of the rules at the school crossing.
“Judy attends every school assembly and often speaks to the students regarding school crossing safety.
“She also holds education sessions for the local pre-school children.
“Judy’s role doesn’t stop at the crossing though. She continues her role into school hours, educating the students and volunteering as a Learning Assistance Program (LAP) volunteer, an Easter Fair committee member and staffroom organiser.”
Like many crossing supervisors in our shire, Judy also ensures students cross the road with a smile and positive attitude.
Tributes flow for the ‘best crossing lady ever’