HILLCREST PLAYGROUP/HAPPY VALLEY PRE-SCHOOL

Photo:25th Anniversay celebration July 1992: Back row - Joy Jackson, Annie Marden, Angie Deacon, Pat Ost, Sue Hawkins, Eileen Farrow.  Front row - Judith Ost, Shirley Feltham, Joyce Terrill, Christine Dumelow

25th Anniversay celebration July 1992: Back row - Joy Jackson, Annie Marden, Angie Deacon, Pat Ost, Sue Hawkins, Eileen Farrow. Front row - Judith Ost, Shirley Feltham, Joyce Terrill, Christine Dumelow

Eileen Farrow

Photo:Preparing for the annual Newhaven Carnival 1969

Preparing for the annual Newhaven Carnival 1969

Eileen Farrow

Photo:Jill Luckhurst founder of the Playgroup November 2007 (on the left)

Jill Luckhurst founder of the Playgroup November 2007 (on the left)

Eileen Farrow

Potted History

By Eileen Farrow

Hillcrest Playgroup began in 1967 by Jill Luckhurst. Jill came to live in Newhaven and was looking for a playgroup for her own children, but there wasn't one, so she decided to start one and Hillcrest Playgroup came into being.

The Original committee members were: Gill Carver, Ann Moody, Yvonne Robbins and Elsie Morris. It was, and still remains today a community playgroup, run by a committee of mainly parents and it is for the use of the wider community's under-five children.

Hillcrest Playgroup started its life in Room 7 of the Further Education Centre building in Hillcrest Road. It had a temporary move when the room underwent a refurbishment, to the hall above the Co-op in Bridge Street, and then it moved back to the Further Education Centre where it remained until 1979.  It then moved into the Brighton Health Authority building next door. Eventually the Health Authority decided to sell the building and with the help of Newhaven residents and companies, the Playgroup raised £35,000 to purchase a large Porta-cabin which it sited onto the rear of the Car Park of the Further Education Centre in September 1989.  To save further expenses all the main trenches to the cabin had been dug by parents and the committee's families.

Unfortunatley there were complaints from neighbours about the noise, and the Playgroup moved into the 3rd Newhaven Scout Hut for a while whilst the committee looked for a new site. The cabin moved into the grounds of Meeching Valley School in 1997.

In 1998 it was decided that the name 'Hillcrest Playgroup' was no longer appropriate, and the name 'Happy Valley Pre-School' was adopted. By 2006 the Porta-cabin was more or less falling apart, and had to be demolished. Meeching Valley school offerred our group a classroom and this was accepted. During 2007 an extension to the school was built and it is hoped that the Pre-school group will finally move into the extension during April 2008.

This page was added by Sylvia Woolford on 06/04/2008.
Comments about this page

Gill Luckhurst is my Mum. I think I'm on the back of the coal lorry ( my Grandad's). We were all inside the climbing frame to stop us falling off. Health and Safety wouldn't like it these days.

By Jo Rayner (nee Joanne Luckhurst)
On 02/07/2010

I have been the manager at Happy Valley Pre School for two years. During August 2010, I took the pre school over and Happy Valley Pre School became a private company. The reason for this was because our lovely directors became too busy with their personal lives to stay involved and as much as we tried, we couldn't persuade other parents to become involved. It still remains very much community focused and will continue to put the children and families of the local community first.

By Sharan Bennett
On 01/10/2010

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