EMOTIONS ran high as a Guardian Rose was handed to two nursery school stalwarts who are leaving their roles.
Gay Underwood was a founder member of the management committee at Little Acorns Pre-School in Shireoaks, having served on it for 15 years.
And Kerry Aspinall has been the committee chair for seven years. Her three children have all been through Little Acorns.
But now the pair feel it is time to move on and give other parents the chance to make a difference on the committee.
“I needed somewhere for my little boy to go so we joined the nursery group in the village and formed the committee. But it grew so quickly we soon needed more space and our own premises,” said Gay, 61. “We applied for a lottery grant and were successful in securing our own purpose-built building here next to St Luke’s school. And it has just grown from there.”
The pre-school, on Brancliffe Lane in the village, now has around 60 pupils aged two to five on the roll.
Gay said: “It has given me immense pleasure to see so many children pass through our hands over the years. Little Acorns was a Godsend for me and my child when I needed it and I’m glad we have been able to help many other families since then.”
Kerry said: “My youngest left Little Acorns last September and I think it’s time a new chair is able to make the decisions that affect the children at the pre-school.”
“We have lots of ups and downs over the years and some real achievements like getting an outstanding Ofsted report and moving from part time to full time childcare.”
“The team are fantastic here and we have had lots of laughs together. I will be sad to leave but we’ll keep in touch.”
Little Acorns manager Louise Passaseo handed the Guardian Rose to the pair with an emotional speech.
“They have been a constant support for myself and the staff over the years,” she said.
“They had faith in me to do this job in the first place and we have had many happy years taking the pre-school from strength to strength.”
“They will never be forgotten by any of us.”