Edwinstowe Pre School Playgroup 1966-2016

In 1966, when Mrs Betty Heafield and Mrs Barbara Bewley founded the Edwinstowe Playgroup, no-one could have envisaged that this would be such a successful venture, and one that continued until 2016.

25th Anniversary.
Founder members Barbara Bewley, Betty Heafield & Pat Bamford.

Early days. 1972

The Group became a member of the Pre-School Playgroups Association, a registered charity which was established by parent volunteers in 1961. Over the years the title has changed and is now known as the “Early Years Alliance”. The Alliance believed that children learn best through play and first-hand child-led experiences, involving exploration and discovery, which encourage their development and learning. Families are involved in every aspect of service planning and delivery and they encourage parental involvement through consultation, parent-led fundraising events, open days, outings and family learning.

At one time there were as many as 56 children on the register, with an average daily attendance of 28 children. In 1982 the Toddler Group (founded in 1976) was welcomed into the group.

Fund-raising events included bazaars, jumble sales, cheese & wine evenings, coffee mornings, a sponsored walk, dinner dances, market stalls, and a karaoke night. Visits to Pets Corner, Treswell, the fire station, library, panto and to see the new born lambs on the farm, were popular outings for the children.

Listed are some of the reports and photos that appeared in the local newspaper (CHAD)

Mothers’ and Toddlers’ Group visit Farm Park”

Playgroup. Easter 1972 . Margaret Young & Barbara Grimes

  • Playgroup – Chad Report 4th April, 1974

Mrs. J. Broomhead presided at the annual meeting in the Welfare Hall yesterday week. A film show and talk on ‘Children in Hospital’ was given by a member of the National Association of the Welfare of Children in Hospital. Officers elected were Chairman – Mrs M. Gardener, secretary – Mrs. Shorten, treasurer – Mrs. J. Broomhead, minutes secretary – Mrs. E. Forman, committee members – Mesdames S. Bevan, J. Francis, J/ Woodward, J. Hibson, C. Flinton and C. Borrf. 

Coffee morning. Chad. April 1974

Playgroup Chad Report 10th Oct. 1974

“Last Thursday mothers of children attending the playgroup went to the Sheriff’s Lodge for dinner. The party numbered 31 and arrangements were made by Mrs. C. Flinton.”

Open Day in the Welfare Hall Chad. 10th Oct. 1974

Pre-School Playgroup Jumble Sale

“Tuesday’s jumble sale at the Welfare hall raised £33.50 towards the Christmas party and presents. Stall-holders and helpers were mesdames S. Hall, D. Abbott, L. Jones, P. Yates, S. Kilner, R. Ashmore, M. Hollick, A. Hough, J. Fox and S. Baron.”

Chad April, 1980

Sponsored Crawl. Chad. May 1980

Chad 1980

Toddlers’ Party 1980

Toddler Group Party 1980

Christmas Fair.  Chad. Nov. 1981

Decorating Library for Christmas Chad Dec. 1981

Toddler Group, Church Rooms May 1981

Mother & Toddler Group. Chad 1981

Jumble Sale. Chad Jan. 1982

Christmas Fair. Chad Dec. 1983

Mother & Toddler Group 1983


Moving Day. May 1985

Christmas Party. Chad 1985

Playgroup. 20th birthday open morning 1986

Chad 1986

20th anniversary. Chad Oct. 1986

Christmas 1987

Chad 1987

Strawberry Fair. Chad 1988

Chad. 1988

Decorating Christmas Tree. Chad 1989

Edwinstowe Playgroup Fayre Chad 1989.

Miles of Pennies. 1990. Runners up in Contact Magazine competition.

 25th Anniversary. Committee – Staff 1991

25th Anniversary. Chad 1991

Coal Cash for fun. Chad 1992

Race night 1993

Fund raising played a part in the Playgroup when in March 1987 donations were made to the BBC TV ‘s Great Blue Peter Bring and Buy Sale appeal in aid of the International Year of Disabled People; in January 1987 they responded to the BBC Blue Peter Sight Saver Appeal; January 1991 the Rumanian children living in orphanages benefited. Again in 1991 donations were given to BBC Radio Nottingham’s Moneyspinner Appeal which supported work of Childline in Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands.

The following reports and photographs were published in the Acorn Community Newspaper. 1998

In April 1990 thanks were received from Rufford Comprehensive School for providing an opportunity for some of the pupils to work in the Playgroup as part of their Life Skills course to be used in their B Tech Foundation Programme.

Over the years many letters and Thank You cards have been sent to Mrs Bamford and the Playgroup expressing gratitude for the care extended to the children and for providing a safe and happy place in which to leave the little ones. This gave them confidence for the time when they went to school.

In November 1997 a Time Capsule was placed in the new Craft Centre. This included the names of Edwinstowe children attending the Playgroup in 1997 and the Toddlers in 1995/6/7


Edwinstowe PreSchool Playgroup ‘Forest School’.
For nearly 40 years, the Playgroup has been preparing toddlers for school. The Edwinstowe Playgroup is the first in Nottinghamshire to run an outdoor classroom. Every Tuesday three-year-olds put on waterproofs and wellies to enjoy learning in the forest environment. Last May, the preschool received funding from the National Lottery’s Awards for All, to launch the programme. This has helped to cover the cost of kitting all the children out with all-weather clothing, enabling all the children to take part. The main aims of the programme are to promote awareness, knowledge and appreciation of the local environment, and instil in children, parents and carers, the importance of outdoor activities, exercise and healthy eating, promoting a healthy start. Diane Berry, chairperson says, “The programme enables a very spontaneous learning experience and has different benefits for every child. Some children have really increased their confidence whilst other have developed their communication skills”

Forest 2005
Playgroup toddlers in their waterproofs and wellies, enjoy the snow.

“Edwinstowe Pre-School Playgroup

As part of the ongoing 40th celebrations the parents, children, staff and committee met at the St John’s Hut on 4th May to take part in a sponsored teddy bear hunt and picnic. While the children were out hunting bears hidden in the forest, the committee prepared the balloons and set out the picnic, which, due to the weather, was held in the hut. After the picnic we all congregated on the cricket pitch for the release of 200 red balloons. Mrs Diane Berry (chairperson) and P Bamford (committee and past supervisor) thanked everyone for their support over the past years and look forward to the group’s continuation in the future. Joining in the release was the head Sherwood Forest Ranger, to assist in the countdown and release of the balloons. The total sponsored money raised so far is £340.39. To continue with the celebrations we are holding an open evening in the Village Hall on Friday 6th July when we hope to meet past committee and staff to take a trip down memory lane and look forward to the future plans for the groups. As part of the celebrations we must include the Toddler Group, which was formed in 1976 and has been an asset to parents, carers and the children over the past 30 years. Posters and invitations will be put out and about for this event, so please contact Angela or write to the playgroup if you would like to attend the event or have any photographs of the groups. The A.G.M. will be held on 2/10/07 when the year will be brought to a close. Other news; the Manvers Arms has been busy raising funds by: Money in a Bottle (£242), Guess How Much Money (£62), Alwyn’s Quiz Team (£106), a grand total of £410. A presentation was made to the staff and committee on 10/5/07. Thanks to all at the Manvers Arms for their donation to the playgroup.”

Release of balloons.

Edwinstowe Pre-School Playgroup 40 years Celebration
“Mrs B Heafield and Mrs Bewley founded Edwinstowe Playgroup in 1966. The Playgroup has been a member of the Pre-School Learning Alliance for many years, and is committed by its constitution to be run by a committee of parents, taking some of the pressure off the staff. The AGM is held every October. When the playgroup started it had an obligatory registration with social services and was inspected annually with two random checks each year. The group now comes under OFSTED and was inspected in 2006 with an excellent report, which can be found on the Internet or at Playgroup and at Edwinstowe Library. There have been many changes in the group. It started in the Church Rooms then moved to the Welfare Hall, until 1985, when it was transferred to the Village Hall where we had the added bonus of outside play. The parent and toddler group started in 1976. This, too, has been very successful and has been an advantage to both parents and children, as they get to know the building and the staff before they move onto the playgroup. The group has always prided itself as being part of the community, by taking part in street festivals, and ‘Christmas in the Library’, decorating the tree. We also have a list of names and details of the groups in the time capsule buried in the craft centre. The group has gone from strength to strength as it now operates sessions in the forest where children can enjoy the pleasure of being outside in all weathers, learning about nature and the environment. We also share part of an allotment where the children can produce vegetables and fruit – a great hands-on- experience. Mrs Angela Umphray, the Manager, and her staff do an excellent job and hopefully will continue to do so through the coming years. To celebrate the forty years there will be several events taking place. The first was the combined Christmas Party at South Forest where Wally the Clown entertained the children. In April there will be an Easter egg hunt and a balloon release, combined with a sponsored walk. On Open Day, 6th July, past and present parents and children will be invited to meet and share memories. The AGM will be held in October when we can bring the year’s activities together and look forward to the continuation of the group.”

Edwinstowe Pre-School Playgroup and Toddlers
“The main event this term was the Fashion Show Extravaganza, which was held on Saturday 14th May in the Welfare Hall. This was a real family event and we all had a wonderful time. We had models from the age of four months, to Mrs Bamford (who says she is twenty one.) The audience included a baby who was only three weeks old, plus a number of great- grandparents. The event was opened by Catherine Bosworth, who is the current Miss Nottingham. The musical entertainment was provided by Edwinstowe’s talented duo, 2 to G .Both Emma and Peter had attended the playgroup when it was held in the Welfare Hall. They also donated a sum of money, and a copy of their C.D, as a raffle prize. “Pumpkin Patch”, who has outlets in Meadow Hall and the Victoria Centre, supplied the children’s clothes. “La Femme”, whose shop is on the High Street, supplied a range of summer outfits. “Dee’s Wools”, also situated on the High Street in Heath’s Country Store, provided an attractive range of accessories, and a display of beautiful jewellery was supplied by “Fire Fly Glass”. At the end of the evening, Shirley Moore and Margaret Young, representing the Acorn Team, presented a cheque for £500. Shirley said that they were pleased to be able make a donation, as they realised what an important contribution the Playgroup makes to the community, benefiting parents as well as the children. Pre-school has also received a cheque from the Manvers Arms for £350.”
“Fund-raising and support is very important to our Pre-school. We appreciate the support and generosity from the Manvers customers, the Acorn, 2 to Go and all of the local businesses who helped with our Fashion show. Without the support from people within the local community over many years, we would not have a Playgroup in Edwinstowe.
Diane Berry, Chairperson says, “Our running costs have increased considerably over recent years, and we seem to have a baby boom in the village at the moment. To accommodate all the toddlers who wish to attend the Playgroup, we are hoping to open on an extra morning” We would like to thank everyone who helped with the Fashion Show, not forgetting the Playgroup staff, Committee and Friends of the Playgroup who all worked very hard to put on this event.”

Click on the pictures below to enlarge

Edwinstowe Playgroup “Inspirational Garden” now open!
“Sunday, November 22, saw the official opening of our new “Inspirational Garden”.
The committee and staff can’t really believe that when we go outside, we can see this amazing garden.
From that wonderful day when we were given the good news that we had been successful in our lottery bid, to now, our open day, it has taken us one year. It has been a year of hard work, despair, excitement and relief, mainly for Diane Berry and Angela Umphray.
These two people have worked tirelessly, liaising with solicitors, contractors, planners, architects and many more. Without their determination the garden would not be here. A BIG THANK-YOU to the staff and the members of the past committee who worked so hard to achieve this amazing project. The playgroup will always be grateful.
In October, at our A.G.M., a new committee was elected. After over eighteen years with the Playgroup, Diane Berry is retiring and Kevin Randall will be our new Chairperson. Thank you, Diane, for the years of dedication you have given to the Playgroup. We are so lucky to have a new committee, bringing with them a wealth of experience, from which the Playgroup will benefit in the coming years. Many thanks to the “Friends of the Playgroup”, a band of Mums who have raised over £1,000. Now, that’s called multi-tasking! Last but not least A BIG THANK-YOU to Acorn readers, local businesses, and the surrounding villages, without whose votes we would not be celebrating the opening of our wonderful garden.”

Diane cuts the ribbon and opens the garden.

The garden.

Staff & Committee members

Angela and Kevin plant a new Walnut tree

Welcome to our garden

Pre-School lottery win


Unfortunately, after 2009, little information is available about the Playgroup until the closure in 2016.

Acknowledgements to The Chad newspaper, The Acorn Community Newspaper, Contact Magazine, and Mrs Pat Bamford.