Sarah Smith has helped two generations of children take their first steps in learning.

A VILLAGE preschool leader has been recognised for 30 years of dedication to children’s education.

Sarah Smith has been involved with Swimbridge Preschool, almost since its inception, when her eldest child Daniel joined in 1984.

Three decades on, mum-of-three Sarah has helped hundreds of children from the village take their first steps in learning in the week-day morning sessions held in the Old School Rooms, next to the church.

On Thursday, honorary alderman and former district and parish councillor Ray Liverton, presented her with a silver plate to mark her contribution to village life.

Mr Liverston said: “I believe the school has set such a good example to children going to the primary school and think that because of this, the school has become one of the top performing primary schools in the country.

“The contribution of preschools is not recognised enough, so it has given me great pleasure to present this plate to Sarah.”

Sarah, who is also a qualified teacher, said she’d taught hundreds of children from the village, including some of the parents of youngsters who attend the preschool today.

“One of the original children on the first morning was Paul Darch, who is now the landlord of the Jack Russell pub across the road,” she said.

“I just love it – I love seeing the children come in and watching them leave the preschool ready to go to school.”

The preschool, which celebrated its 30th birthday with a street party last month, currently has 17 three-to-four-year-old children on its roll.

Sarah added: “I’m passionate about the group and believe it plays such a vital part of village life.

“It was initially set-up as a parent-run group and even now 30 years on, we still rely on parent volunteers as we are still a charity.

“We are really appreciative of the church, which has continued to support us really well over the years.”