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Manager of Riverside Pre-School Kindergarten, in Horton Road, South Darenth who taught generations of children has retired after 50 years

By Jade Edwards

The manager of a nursery who has taught generations of children has retired after almost 50 years.

Cecilia Reynolds, 75, helped set up Riverside Pre-School Kindergarten, in Horton Road, South Darenth, 47 years ago.

There was no pre-school in the village so she set one up at South Darenth and Horton Kirby village hall.

Cecelia with some of the pupils

Mrs Reynolds, of Rays Hill, Horton Kirby, has three sons and nine grandchildren and all bar one of her sons were pupils.

When Riverside started, there were only eight children in the class, one of whom was her son, Ian. Now they have 80 children at Riverside and Ian will be 50 in December.

Mrs Reynolds said her greatest achievement at Riverside was gaining outstanding Ofsted status for the pre-school.

There were other great memories too. She said: “I think just starting at Riverside and the great feeling I had and gaining Ofsted outstanding status in 2011 were highlights; all our staff’s hard work and help from parents who have been amazing.”

Mrs Reynolds also worked with Kent County Council to receive £19,500 to create a garden.

She said the children loved to play in the outdoor area, which she had to get planning permission for and approval from the parish council.

Cecelia (centre), with, l/r, Julie Costley and Valerie Day who are also leaving after 23 years and 18 years

Mrs Reynolds said: “I now have parents coming in who were my children and now their children are coming in.

“I have so many happy memories, I could probably write a book, perhaps that is what I will do.

“I’m going to spend more time with my family and spend time with my husband who has been incredibly patient all these years.”

Riverside threw a joint party for Mrs Reynolds and the children, as most of them were leaving to go to primary school.

Two other members of staff at Riverview have also said goodbye – Julie Costley, who has been at Riverside for 23 years, and Valerie Day who has been there for 18 years.

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