Nursery children make emotional return

Joseph Bulmer

St Michael’s nursery opens after parent rescue bid succeeds.

A NORTH Devon nursery has re-opened its doors to youngsters today (Monday) after parents stepped in to rescue it from the hands of administrators.

Children made an emotional return to St Michael’s Nursery, near Barnstaple, after the Tawstock Court Volunteer Group managed to conclude negotiations on Friday night.

This morning, older pupils from the upper school, which has been forced to close amid insurmountable financial difficulties, handed over the keys to nursery children.

Speaking at the handover, Tawstock Court spokesperson Gordon Gurr, said the event marked a “major milestone” in the quest to keep the spirit of the school alive.

“By handing over the keys to the little ones, we are asking them to safeguard the spirit of St Michael’s while we are busy trying to re-establish the school,” he said.

“This great day marks the beginning of a new St Michael’s; it’s fantastic to see the children all start back at nursery and hopefully one day they will be able to look back and say they were part of that new beginning.”

It is thought that around 75 three-month-to-four-year-olds have re-registered with the nursery, which is run by Sarah Sexon and 28 members of staff.

A two-term lease on the nursery buildings and sports hall has been agreed with administrators, in which time supporters hope to be able to strengthen the case for long term future for the nursery.

Mr Gurr said that saving the nursery could act as a catalyst for saving the main school, but acknowledged that any future for the school would depend on what the administrators did with the building.

He thanked supporters, many of whom had turned their backs on their local businesses to mount the three-week post-Christmas rescue effort.

“The opportunity to take up such an important community cause as this seldom comes your way in life and I feel privileged to have that chance and to work with this inspiring team.

“So many children and families have been affected by the closure and if we have reduced the trauma for some then it has been worth the effort.”