Preschool founder dies after years of dedication

PUBLISHED: 15:05 28 July 2015

Edith Jones

Edith Jones

Archant

A grandmother, who was instrumental in setting up a long-running nursery school in Clevedon, has died at the age of 82.

Edith JonesEdith Jones

Edith Jones helped create Roundabouts Preschool, having been shocked at the lack of facilities for children when she moved to the town in the 1960s.

She went on to raise funds to secure its survival and dedicated about half a century to the cause.

Her grand-daughter Gemma Crocker said: “After the birth of her fourth child she was disappointed to discover there were no affordable playschools in Clevedon, only high-cost commercial nurseries.

“She began a small playgroup from her home in Orchard Road in 1967 and when it quickly became apparent this was too small she moved to the YMCA building on Marson Road and ran Roundabouts Playschool along with her friend and infant school teacher Molly Hutton.

“In 1970 the local council offered them the opportunity to move to a dedicated facility in Southey Road, which they gladly accepted.

“The building was only ever intended to be a temporary home for the playschool, having been built to only last 10 years, however despite appeals to the council there was no resource to replace the temporary building with a more permanent structure.”

It prompted Edith to begin a major fundraising drive.

In 1993, having raised more than £32,000 – in part due to the generosity of Clevedon Lions – Edith had a permanent building to use.

Gemma said: “Edith realised it was unlikely the council would be able to re-home Roundabouts therefore in 1989 she began a fundraising campaign to build a new Roundabouts.

“The fantastic brick-built building opened in September 1993 thanks to the efforts of Edith and the many former pupils and parents who gave their time and often materials for free.

“At this point Edith established Roundabouts as a charitable trust in her words, ‘for the children of Clevedon to continue to learn through playing, with or without me’.”

Edith retired in 1998 from the preschool but continued to be chairman of the trustees until turning 80 in 2013.

Her funeral will be held at Christchurch in Chapel Hill on tomorrow (Wednesday), starting at 11am. All are welcome.

Donations in memory of Edith are being accepted by Clevedon Funeral Services in aid of Roundabouts Preschool’s AstroTurf campaign.

The project seeks to create an outdoors facility for the preschool children to use, regardless of the weather.

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