Popular nursery owner retires after four decades helping children

A well-loved and respected nursery owner is retiring after caring for children in Blyth for 40 years.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 8:00 am
Left to right, Back row: Joel Graham, Henry Thompson, Ann Wilson, Ellie Harrison. Front row: Arlo Brown, Oona Lavender and Lois Baxter.

Ann Wilson, from Dunkeld Close in Blyth has ran Early Steps Pre School – otherwise known as ‘Aunty Ann’s’ – on the South Beach estate for 30 years and previously at Newsham Pavillion for ten years.

Now teaching children’s children, Ann has dedicated her career to nurturing and developing early years children and says it has been a joy to see different generations of families pass through the nursery.

A Just Giving page was set up by a local parent to raise funds for Ann as a thank you to enjoy her retirement with the aim of raising a few hundred pounds, achieving a staggering £1,395, all generously donated by parents in the local community.

One parent said: “ Ann – or ‘Aunty Ann’ is a very well respected member of our community, she has made a huge contribution to the children's lives.

"From helping children settle into their new environment, teaching them learn and play and watching them make friends of their own and grow in confidence, Ann has given our children magical experiences.”

Ann, 59, said: “When I came to South Beach all those years ago, I didn't know any off the staff or the children and to say it was daunting is an understatement.

"However, I now feel I am retiring and leaving nursery with a huge extended family.

“My time at Early Steps has been filled with such happy memories which I will treasure for ever.

"I have loved every bit of my time in nursery but until this week didn't realise the impact, I have had on so many families.

"Parents past and present kind words and messages and not to mention gifts are just so humbling and have reduced me to tears many times.

"I have been so privileged to work with such lovely children and in some cases their parents and each and every one of them are a credit to their families.

“I have also been extremely lucky to work with a dedicated team of staff who have and still do go over and beyond what is expected of them.

“It's very hard to imagine my life not surrounded by three and four year olds and I know that I am going to miss them terribly.

“I have no doubt in my mind that Early Steps will go from strength to strength as I am leaving it in the care of a very enthusiastic team of girls.”

Ann, who is retiring to spend more time with her own family and grandchildren, added: “I decided to retire as the pandemic made me realise how important family is.

"I hadn't seen my son and his family for six months and then it was only briefly.

"I was denied Christmas and Easter with them and it broke my heart. My parents are in there 80's and again I protected them by not seeing them as I normally would.

"I knew it was time to put my own family first and to do that I would need to finish work.”

Early Steps Pre School will continue under the management of current nursery workers Justine Halsious and Sharon Stewart.