Penwortham playgroup closes after nearly 50 years

After 47 years, Middleforth playgroup has shut it’s doors for good.

The playschool based in St Leonard’s Church Hall had the capacity for up to 18 children, but with most of this year’s pupils heading off to reception in September and only three new enquiries for next term, running the group was no longer feasible.

Chair of the commitee, Cathie Carr, said the day was bittersweet with celebrations mixed with sadness.

She said: “We’re all very sad today, singing the goodbye song at the end tipped us over the edge.”

An emotional moment as the playgroup closes

Staff at the playgroup – Lucy Bunce, Fiona Chippendale, Liz Royle and Barbara Batty – have racked up significant service, with one lady in her 29th year, one there for 25 years and two there for 20 years.

Together they have formed life-long friendships and have taught thousands of local children.

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Cathie said: “The ladies have been there for years and years and it’s a terrible shame for them. I think most of them are going to retire now and go on a well-deserved holiday.”

More than 100 people attended a party on Saturday

To mark the end of an era, a party was held last Saturday at the church hall, attended by more than 100 people.

Cathie said: “The party was so lovely, and so many people came along for some bubbly and a slice of cake.

“There was even one lady whose son was at playgroup 47 years ago.

"We wanted to do the party so that we would go out with a smile, and we did.

The staff and committee members of the playgroup

"It’s been an absolute privilege to be involved and get to know these wonderful ladies.”

Celebrating the end of an era
Children and staff on the last day
The last group of children who will ever attend the playgroup