Pre-school shut after 44 years

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A children’s playgroup that has been running for more than 44 years is due to shut down this week – as there are not enough children left to keep it open.

Tansley pre-school, based at the community hall, has been a feature of the village since 1967.

But the pre-school will close for the school holidays on Thursday, July 21 – and lack of demand has dictated that it will not re-open in September.

Ruth Lomas, who has run Tansley pre-school for the past 17 years, said she was upset by the closure.

She said: “This is the last week. It’s very sad, but the numbers of children using the pre-school simply aren’t enough to keep it viable.

“I will be very sad to see it go. There’s three of us work there and we will have to go and find something else to do now. I don’t know quite which road I’m going to take. It’s all change.”

Ruth’s mother-in-law Margaret Lomas was one of the founders of the pre-school back in 1967.

Ruth said: “The committee had to make the decision to close it, acting on advice from the local authorities.

“The numbers weren’t there, so we couldn’t keep going. We tried as hard as we could to find a way around it. It’s slowly been going down and down, and I know we’re not the only pre-school suffering.

“In Derbyshire, the schools all take them in in one intake now, instead of two, which doesn’t help.”

The pre-school closes with just 18 children on its books, with many sessions attended by just seven or eight children, compared to full sessions of 20 children just a few years ago.

However, despite the sadness of its closure, there are plans to give the pre-school a memorable send-off.

There will be a party for the children at the pre-school at the final session on Thursday, July 21.

Then, in the afternoon, there will be a party for anyone and everyone who has been involved with the pre-school, past and present.

Ruth said: “It’s a chance for everyone in the village to say their goodbyes. I think there will be more than a few tears.”

The party takes place between 3.30pm and 6pm on Thursday, July 21, at the community hall in Tansley.