PUBLISHED: 14:22 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:36 24 July 2018
Archant © 2018
A nursery that has helped raise generations of children has closed following an emotional day of celebrations.
Cascade Nursery in Nelson Road, Gorleston, has been owned and operated by Gail Eccles for the past 25 years, but now their doors have closed.
On Friday, staff, parents and children celebrated the end of a happy chapter in their lives with entertainment and ice cream.
56-year-old Mrs Eccles began working at the nursery as a support for a child with additional needs before taking charge after around 18 months.
Since then, Mrs Eccles has overseen a nursery that has become part of the community with a loyal following of families.
She said: “I have had children who have grown up and brought their children. It’s a bit scary, it makes you realise how old you are.
“We’ve had lots of families who have used us for years with lots of siblings, so the first one comes and then the next one and then the next one. We’ve had a lot of support and we have developed a sort of family feeling down the years.
“Parents are putting their trust in you to care for them, which is a huge responsibility. I’m really thankful.”
The decision to close the nursery was taken due to there being insufficient children to make the business viable.
Mrs Eccles said the impact she had made through her career started to dawn on her as she closed the nursery.
She said: “My son and daughter were very young when I took the nursery on and they have sent me messages, because they live abroad, saying mum you should be so proud of the positive influence you have given to hundreds of hundreds of children and their families.
“You treat it as a job and a career, but the comments parents have made are just overwhelming when they talk about the huge impact that we have had on children in their early years, which you don’t really think about at the time, because it is ongoing.
“Hopefully we have made a positive difference for children in terms of transitioning to school with confidence and self esteem.”