PARENTS of children attending a Monmouthshire nursery are fundraising to give back and show their thanks for all the work staff have done the past year during the pandemic.

Puddle Ducks nursery in Raglan have provided a safe and continuous environment for their little students - taking care of key worker’s children in the early months of the lockdown, and when they reopened their doors to us all in late June they put strict measures in place to ensure the safety and well being of all.

One mum who is helping with the fundraiser, Paola Beach, said: "We know that they are adhering to guidelines, but we also feel that they are going above and beyond.

"They are taking a risk every time they allow someone into the building despite restricting parental access and insisting that parents/carers and children wash their hands on entry.

"What we don’t see, is all they do to make life feel as normal as possible for the children.

"They want it all to be as seamless as we do; they don’t want the children to be aware of the restrictions and increased hygiene measures, the daily routine is as always but the underfloor heating is on full time to counter act the open windows that allow necessary air movement and they are spending even more time than normal outside.

"Whilst chatting at the park, two of us said how we wanted to thank the hands on proprietors Rob and Jennie Rennie, and the tireless Manager Sarah Richards as well as their loving team of staff who look after the children as though they are family.

"We decided we’d like to raise some money but I thought instead of simply making a donation we would buy them some trees to commemorate this year and to create shade and attract wildlife.

A red oak tree was chosen as the nursery colour is red, and inspired by the saying: 'Great oaks from little acorns grown.' It will be placed at the front of the property in the centre of the car park.


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"They are taking care of our little acorns," she added.

"We hope it will grow as our children grow and will be a reminder to us and them for generations. I know I’m not alone in intending to drive by now and then to see it change and to make myself remember this year.

"The other trees we hope to buy are five blossom trees that will be planted in the children’s garden at the rear of the nursery where Rob and Jennie intend to build a log cabin style outdoor learning space for Forest School and Little Explorer experiences.

"The trees will be beautiful in spring, attracting bees and wildlife to their stunning pink blossom and in the autumn will turn red as the oak will.

"The fund raising will cease on 1st March, with the intention of planting the trees later in March to mark one year since all this began.

"Thus far we have raised £370, it has had a wonderful response, we have more than enough money for the oak and the five blossom trees and now we are just trying to raise as much as we possibly can to help Rob and Jennie build that log cabin.

"They are all very touched at the idea, they have said they are “excited and appreciative” and have enjoyed reading the lovely messages that people have left in the Just Giving page."