PARENTS and children came together to say farewell to a nursery.

Hopgarden Day Care in Carter Clay Road, Lockerley, held an afternoon of celebration as the nursery officially closed after 16 years.

This news comes after Sue Gray, the manager of the nursery, lodged plans to Test Valley Borough Council to turn the nursery, which is attached to Sue’s home, to residential use to extend her home.

Sue, who has worked in childcare for the past 31 years, said she is closing the nursery because she is retiring and also due to running costs.

She said: "It was absolutely fantastic and we probably had around 100 people attend. We were celebrating right from 11.45am to 4.30pm and we had a lovely picnic indoors because of the weather.

"We did a presentation for the current children here and the parents gave us presents and the staff even gave me a sunbed.

"We had our celebration on July 19 and Scotty the Clown came, who always comes at Christmas time, but this was something special that it was great to see the children's faces. They loved him."

Sue added she had "so many presents" from parents and it was "overwhelming" seeing so many past children and parents coming to the nursery.

The 60-year-old said: "It was very emotional for the staff, children and parents. The parents were looking at all of the old photos and we are all still talking about it to each other.

"The staff here have worked together for many years and Linda Gee has been with me for all of the 16 years we have been here.

"Lisa Harding has been here for 15 years and Emmaleigh Williams has been here for eight years as well.

"We have worked here all as a team and one parent said we are going to be a real lose to the community."

Sue added there will be a sale on July 27 at Hopgarden Day Care where "everything must go" from the nursery.

The sale will run from 11am to 3pm and residents are encouraged to come along.