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Founder of Edenham Pre-school at Grimsthorpe Castle retires

The founder of a nursery who has welcomed generations of children is retiring due to ill health.

Julie Marshall set up a pre-school in 1992 for children who would be going to Edenham Primary School.

Her eldest son, Timothy, was four at the time which drew her attention to the fact there were no feeder nurseries.

Julie Marshall
Julie Marshall

Julie, a mum of two, said: “It is really important for children going to the school to meet somewhere and get to know each other.

“There wasn’t anything so I took myself off to college and got my qualifications.”

The pre-school was set up in Edenham Village Hall with Julie, then 34, offering care to four or five children each day.

Julie Marshall when she opened the nursery in the 1990s
Julie Marshall when she opened the nursery in the 1990s

However, as it quickly grew a hunt was on for a new location and Lady Willoughby, who was on the board of governors for the primary school and lived at Grimsthorpe Castle, offered the former hostel located in the grounds.

Thirty-two years later and there are about 120 children attending Edenham Pre-school.

“I still can’t get my head around it and I can’t believe it’s been that long,” said Julie, who worked in a bank after leaving school.

“There have been so many changes.

“I have some people bringing their children now who used to come to me when they were little, which is lovely.

“It is a warm environment and very family-oriented.

“I never thought of it as a business, it is like my third child.”

Throughout the years Julie has employed many staff members and making sure they have a passion for children was key as it can be ‘hard work’.

She also has campaigned for childcare to be more respected by the government.

For Julie the highlight of her time was the hundreds of children she worked with.

She said: “You could be having a really bad day and they put their arms around you and are so pleased to see you that it brings a smile to your face.

“It is all about the children.”

With a strong emotional bond Julie is scared to leave the nursery but is confident it will be in good hands with the new owner Miriam Greenslade, who already runs a pre-school in Sleaford.

While Julie wasn’t keen to leave yet, ill health pushed forward the decision to retire having been diagnosed with cancer.

Just days after she wraps up work this week, she will undergo an operation.

“I am emotional,” the 66-year-old said.

“I have received so many messages.

“You don’t realise you touch people’s lives by going to work and what you do,” she said.

A leaving party is being held at the nursery from 6.30pm to 8pm today (Friday, September 29).

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