Hitchin baby and toddler club bids farewell to volunteer of 30 years

PUBLISHED: 08:34 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:34 21 December 2017

Jean Kidd making a presentation to Jan Wilkinson, who is hanging up her apron after 30 years at the Holy Saviour Baby and Toddler Club in Hitchin. Picture: Pauline Caswell

Jean Kidd making a presentation to Jan Wilkinson, who is hanging up her apron after 30 years at the Holy Saviour Baby and Toddler Club in Hitchin. Picture: Pauline Caswell

Archant

A Hitchin woman who has been helping at a baby and toddler group for 30 years has hung up her apron this week.

Jan Wilkinson has been volunteering at Holy Saviour Baby and Toddler Club in Radcliffe Road since 1987, but the latest meet on Tuesday morning was her last.

Jan, who uses a wheelchair as she has cerebral palsy affecting movement on her left side, joined the weekly club from Nightingale House on a project to help her to integrate into the community.

Speaking about Jan’s commitment over three decades, Pauline Caswell – who helped set up the club in 1979 and runs it alongside Jean Kidd, Rachel Thomson and Rhona Auld – said: “Jan’s a very friendly, lively lady and has a great sense of humour. She’s always laughing with the children.

“Although she’s been restricted to her wheelchair that doesn’t stop her. She prepares the children’s drinks, gets their biscuits and she loves to watch them having a sing-song at the end of the day.

“She’s not as mobile as she used to be so reluctantly has decided to retire – but I think if you’ve been doing it for 30 years then you’ve done pretty well!”

To mark her 30-year stint, Jan – accompanied by her carer and two friends – was presented with flowers, gifts and cards from the team and parents, as well as a club apron that she always wears.

“She laughed when we presented her with the apron,” said Pauline, who also lives in Hitchin.

“That’s what she’s like – Jan brightens up the day. She’s always laughing and that’s great for the children to see that we can all have fun and enjoy things together.”

About her time at the club, Jan said: “I love this club – it’s been the highlight of my week!”

Holy Saviour Baby and Toddler Club is an important meeting place for mums, dads and carers of young children.

The club provides a safe constructive play space for children, and conversation time for their carers.

It meets on Tuesday mornings during term time between 10am and 11.30am at Holy Saviour Church’s hall in Radcliffe Road.

New children from birth to school age are welcome to come along to use the play facilities which include sand, painting, jigsaws, crafts and more, while parents and carers can social and enjoy refreshments. Anyone is free to turn up to the drop-in session on the day.

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