THE first nursery school for children to be set up in Skipton is appealing to former pupils, staff, governors and friends to help it celebrate a special event.

Otley Street Community Nursery School, rated outstanding by Ofsted, will be 80 years old in November, and is planning to hold an open day in May to which all with any connection with the school either now, or in the past, is warmly invited to go along.

The school hopes people will want to share their memories and any photographs that it can make into copies and form into a historical record.

It is also planning to invite the oldest recorded pupil it can find to be a guest of honour on the day.

The nursery school was opened in November 1942 in a 'temporary' building in the back garden of the Otley Street Surgeries.

It is still housed in the same building but has been much improved with central heating, a new roof and lowered ceilings, and is now classed as permanent. In 2015 it was rated outstanding by Ofsted, maintaining the highest possible status again in 2019.

A spokesperson for the school said: “We have the original school registers and would particularly love to hear from someone on there.The earliest recorded pupil that we can find will be invited as our guest of honour on the day.”

The first 10 names on the register are: Rolfe Gifford, Wilfred Beck, Mary Wood, Monica Robertson, John Stephenson, David Beckwith, Patricia Dawson, Kenneth Warman, Gary Brockbank and Gillian Ford.

The spokesperson added: “As part of the celebrations we would like to create an historical record of the school so if anyone has any photos, newspaper cuttings or any other memorabilia we would love to copy them.

“We would obviously take great care of any material loaned and make sure that it is returned. In addition, we are asking people if they could write down a brief recollection of their time at Otley Street Nursery School."

The open day, on Saturday, May 21, from 10am to 2pm, will include an opportunity to contribute to a commemorative artwork, face painting for children, a bouncy castle and refreshments.

Ian Lockwood, in his book, The History of Skipton, says of the setting up of the town's first nursery: "The doctors had been keen supporters of the abandoned scheme of 1937 and the absorption of many women into war-related work reinforced the need for childcare.

"After the war, the nursery continued and in 1948 was taken over by the West Riding Council and was used by them as a training establishment for nursery staff."