Youngsters at a village pre-school waved goodbye to a much-loved member of staff after she enjoyed her final playtime following a career spanning four decades.

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Jenny Forder has looked after generations of children during her time at Freethorpe Pre-School and become a well-known face in the community.

But after 42 years she has stepped down from her caring role and last Thursday she said a fond farewell to the youngsters as a special tea party was held in her honour.

The 65-year-old joined the pre-school in 1972 as a volunteer when she took her eldest son Mark along to a session.

Soon after the then leader retired and Mrs Forder took over her role of supervisor, a position she maintained until four years ago when she became one of the school’s play leaders.

Throughout her career she has seen generations of families come through the door and welcomed parents back to the school that she looked after as children.

Mrs Forder, a mum-of-three who grew up in Freethorpe, said: “I have always enjoyed it. I have been really lucky, I have always got up and never not wanted to go.

“I loved being with the children and that’s been my life really. I’m really sad to finish really but it comes to us all.”

Over the years Mrs Forder has also seen changes to pre-school education particularly through the introduction of Ofsted and inspections, which she said had added a lot of paperwork to her job.

“That’s made such a difference,” she added.

During her career she has also made lots of good friends and as her own family has grown she has welcomed her grandchildren into the pre-school, which looks after youngsters aged two - five.

The grandmother-of-eight is now looking forward to retirement with husband Malcolm, 68, who is due 
to step down from his 
position as an agricultural sales rep in two months time, and taking trips in their caravan.

But she said her services would always be available to the pre-school.

“I’ve told the school I’d be prepared to go back and help if they get short,” she added. “And I’ll pop down to do a little bit of reading so I can just see the children because you get attached to them.”

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