A pre-school community ‘devastated’ by the theft of £90,000 from its funds has bounced back with festive spirit to raise cash towards running costs and a replacement building project.

Parents, staff and children from Oldfield Pre-school in Vicars Cross, have all joined in with recent Christmas-themed fun-raising events as part of a drive which has generated an impressive £64,000 over the past six years.

Any profits go towards the running of the pre-school to ensure it continues to provide the best possible care and education for children in the area, as well as the fund for replacing the current building.

Staff and children at the pre-school were devastated in 2010 after discovering almost £90,000 had been siphoned off over an eight-year period by then treasurer Jayne Hawthorne, of Sheldon Avenue, Vicars Cross, who was jailed for two-and-a-half years.


Manager Jeanette Joliffe said: “We are immensely proud of all the children and are very grateful to all the parents and supporters of Oldfield Pre-School who have helped us raise a fantastic amount of money.

“We have basically had to start from scratch since the money was stolen from the school, and have managed to raise £64,000 in six years. We are still falling a short of our target but it is our hope that we will be able to raise enough money to provide a new, larger purpose built premises for the pre-school.

“The current building is getting old and tired and is in need of repair, and we do not have enough space for all the children in Vicars Cross who want to attend.”

In the last few weeks alone supporters, led by a dedicated committee of staff and parent volunteers, have raised more than £750 through carol singing, bake sales, creating Christmas cards and holding a festive fair with a visit from Santa himself.

The children also helped spread some Christmas cheer by putting on a special singing celebration for friends and relatives, followed by a coffee and cake sale which raised £40 for Claire House Children’s Hospice.

Anyone who would like to help the pre-school’s fund-raising campaign, or knows of a company willing to sponsor an activity or fund-raising future project, is asked to contact Chris Barrowcliff, Oldfield Pre-school administrator, via email: administrator@oldfieldpreschool.org