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Blewbury Pre-School is 50

April 23, 2021

Blewbury Pre-School celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening on 27th April 2021. It was born from a pressing need created by the increasing numbers of young families moving to the village.

A founding committee – Anne Fussell, Ann Dendy, Ann Saunders, Ron Martin and Coral & John Richards – seized their chance when the opening of the new primary school meant its old building lay vacant. Working with the local authority, Playgroup Association, and The Malthus Trust (which owns the building), Blewbury Pre-School was registered as a charity in 1971 and opened within three months.

Ann Dendy recalls, ‘Everything was done at speed. The education department had left much of the child-sized furniture in situ and as we had no start-up funds we were pleased to have some basic furniture for a nominal sum. We also asked for donations of suitable educational toys and books in good condition. The response was amazing – but this is Blewbury!” Anne Fussell remembers: “In common with the majority of playgroups, Blewbury had very little money. Two ‘Tortoise’ stoves provided heating, and although well-guarded, they were not ideal – dirty, smelly, needed ‘topping up’ on really cold days. We received help from all sides however… Didcot shops gave us goods or money, the Parish Council gave us a grant and Esso gave us more convenient heaters. Dads rallied round and the old coke burners were torn out and the new heating installed. Our aims for the children were to provide them with a variety of rich experiences. Things we now take for granted were relatively new – indoor water play, sand inside… a book corner and writing table with fat pencils!’

Half a century later Blewbury Pre-School is still proudly providing early years education for the children of this and the surrounding villages, preparing them for school life both socially and educationally. However, five decades on, fundraising remains vital to our continued existence, a situation made more challenging by pandemic restrictions. We are therefore pleased to announce that the Blewbury Pre-School Lottery is now open to anyone aged 16 and over. For £5 per month members will be entered into a monthly lottery with a chance to win one of three cash prizes. There will be a 50:50 split between prize and fundraising money – with the latter funding equipment, resources and general needs. It’s an annual membership, and we plan to sell a maximum of 200 lottery numbers each year.

Thank you to everyone for all your support over the last 50 years! If you’d like to join the Lottery, please email lottery@blewburypreschool.co.uk or go to www.blewburypreschool.co.uk for more information and full T+Cs.