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Playgroup to Celebrate 50 Years of Child’s Play

Published on: 14 Jun, 2017
Updated on: 13 Jun, 2017

The playgroup in the 1992. Is one of your children in the picture?

The 50th anniversary of a pre-school play group is to be celebrated in July. The group was named Bright Start Pre-school during the late 1990’s and is now Child’s Play Pre-school, still thriving and enabling under 5s to learn through play.

Organisers of the celebration are calling out to all former staff, parents and pupils to join them for a tea party in the United Reformed Church Hall, Portsmouth Road on Sunday, July 16 from 3-5pm.

The playgroup in 1997. Back row: Lesley Whittle, Christine Ricketts, Elaine Benson, Penny Lucas, Janice Brown, George Brown – Third row: Tom Unwin, Alice Walker, Katie Mostyn, Harriet Smithers, Jamie Richards, Annika Francis, Kate Sanders(?) – Second row: Emily Coleman, Eugene Ricketts, Katie Russell, Nicolas Mundy, Lilli Meadows, Phillip Whittle – Front row: Ben Hirst, Alice Reid, Sarah Millyard, Harry Giles, Rhianna Richards, Emily Kirwin, Vincent Bourke

Sara Scott, one of the event organisers said: “We hope those coming will bring old photo’s, memorabilia and maybe a cake! They would be warmly welcomed.

“Better still, would be if they can scan any old photographs and newspapers cuttings beforehand and sent them to me at: so they can be be included in a 50 year timeline which will be displayed at the party.

“There will also be a book available for memories of playgroup days to be recorded in. We would also ask those who are intending to come to the party to let me know by email to spread the word to any friends who may have moved away.

The playgroup was started in 1967 by a group of young mothers who were inspired by the new Pre-school Playgroups Association movement (later the Pre-school Learning Alliance). They established a group in, what was then, the Congregational Church Hall on the Portsmouth Road in Guildford.

Ena Booth, Penny Lucas, Norma Moore, Phyl Tubb and Margaret Underwood saw the need for play and socialising opportunities for young children in the area and the Congregational Church Hall offered a modern, spacious environment. Guildford Technical College and Adult Education classes provided some preparation courses, and the first toys and games were donated.

The fee of two shillings (10p) per morning (or no charge if a family couldn’t afford that) covered the purchase of large-scale equipment such as the wooden climbing frame which outlasted not only the original children but some of their children too!

1998 – Back row: Penny Lucas, Rose Butler, Tracy Jackson, Lesley Whittle – Fourth row: Imogen Stringer, Tom Unwin, Rebecca Whittaker, Saffron Petten, Olivia Susserott, Joshua Jackson, James Russell – Third row: Katie Mallalieu, Scott Martin, Michael Lloyd, Selina Dodds, William Brown, Sarah Millyard, Holly Browne – Second row: Polly Burgess, Rosie Lee, Florence Maclennan, Sophia Brandt, Helen Lam, Alice Reid, Tom Mostyn, Chloe Mayell – Front row: Katie Burgess, Tom Giles, Robbie Blackford, Cameron Mansen, Isobel Murphy, Daniel de Kretser, Ross Unwin

Painting, reading, water play, cooking, woodwork, singing, the nature table, roaring around the hall on tricycles and scooters and many other activities kept children through the years happy, stimulated and readied for school years.

See the group’s website: for more information about the playgroup.

But who are these? Please write in to: Photo thought to date from 1999.

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Responses to Playgroup to Celebrate 50 Years of Child’s Play

  1. Sara Scott Reply

    July 2, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    We have parents, children and staff from the 1960’s through to the present day coming to celebrate with us on Sunday 16th July. Although we have some great photographs, more from the early years would be wonderful to add to the timeline.

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