A PRE-SCHOOL with a history of almost four decades in the town has been forced to close its doors due to financial troubles.

Staff at Andover Baptist Church Preschool Playgroup said goodbye to children just before the Christmas break as they closed the doors on December 20.

The facility first opened as a play school in 1982 under Mrs Dorothy Page, before growing into a pre-school taking on children aged two to five years old.

But the trustees were forced to make the difficult decision to close the school ahead of the New Year.

Barbara Long, chair of the board of trustees for ABC Pre-school, said: “We had to take the very difficult decision to close the business at the end of December due to increasing difficulty in meeting our overheads.

“This step was not taken lightly since, until fairly recently, we have been operating successfully for 38 years.

“I am proud of our long-standing track record in providing good early years education and would like to thank all our staff for their many years of commitment and the parents of children who’ve attended our pre-school, past and present, for their support.”

The preschool provided free government funded places and was able to provide extended hours when the government introduced 30-hour funding for three-year-olds.

In 2017 the preschool moved to the Phoenix Centre while the church was refurbished and continued to operate from there.

Staff and parents were said to be dismayed when the trustees had to make the difficult decision to close the pre-school.

The trustees have wished all the children and staff good luck at their new setting, at which they started at the beginning of January, and are really pleased that they have managed to help parents find places for their children with other early years childcare providers and staff new jobs to go to.