special birthday party took place on Saturday afternoon
to celebrate the 40th birthday of Ross Pre-school play group
Children past and present who have used the play group gathered
together at the Larruperz Centre to share memories, look
at the old photographs and take part in a range of activities,
joined by the play group's founder, Mrs. Joyce Thomas, MBE-DL.
was face painting, hand printing and tattoos and there was
lots of lovely food available, including delicious pork
rolls, hot dogs, cakes and sweets. There was also a beautiful
40th birthday cake made specially for the occasion by Sue
Kirby, whose daughter, Wendy attended the play group within
its first year of opening. Wendy was presented with a bottle
of champagne for being the person present who had attended
the play group the longest time ago.
Town Mayor, Councillor JO Lane officially opened the celebration,
getting everybody to sing 'Happy Birthday.' The
party had a very happy atmosphere and a lovely time was
had by all and although the event wasn't a fund raiser as
such, £165 was raised for the play group during the
play group came about when in 1970, Mrs. Joyce Thomas decided
to stand for the Urban District Council at Ross-on-Wye.
Her manifesto was based on family life and the needs of
the family, which included, quite a radical idea in the
70s, opening a play group for children under the age of
five years. Mrs. Thomas called a public meeting at the Top
Spot, now Jacqueline's, and great interest was shown by
local parents for the idea.
management committee of local people was formed and they
looked into becoming a charity. They had no premises however,
so Mrs. Thomas approached the Local Education Authority,
(LEA), who agreed to the group using the Horsa Huts in Cantilupe
Road, where Goodrich Court is today. The play group opened,
registering as a charity and the children flocked there.
In a statement to the press Mrs. Thomas said that the staff
at that time were superb and she is pleased that the trend
has continued to the present day. 'It wasn't all plain sailing,'
she continued, 'but we weathered the storm. Here we are,
40 years later, running even more successfully than we did
Thomas has continued her involvement with Ross Pre-school
Play group and when we asked her how she felt, she said,
'It takes a long time for things to catch on in Ross. The
idea of a pre-school play group in the 70s was quite radical,
yet here we are today, 40 years on. The play group [a facility
she wanted for children from all walks of life] is a fantastic
success with superb staff, wonderful children and all the
public behind us.'
original committee who met on 5th August 1970 were: President,
Mrs. Joyce Thomas, Chairman, Mrs. G. English, Treasurer,
Mrs. M. Legg, Supervisor, Mrs. P. Claxton, Committee members,
Mrs. I. Davis, Mrs. S. Mace, Mrs. L. Mcnulty and Secretary,
Mrs. P. Cresswell.