Bunny Warren Nursery closes having provided childcare in Fratton for 42 years

A nursery in Fratton where generations of children began their education has closed after 42 years.
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Lynn Harris has managed Bunny Warren Pre School Nursery at the Fratton Community Centre for decades, and announced last month it would close its doors for the last time on Friday, December 16.

The nursery was provided childcare for countless children going on to pursue all walks of life, including Stephen Morgan MP. Lynn, 71, said the decision was ‘absolutely heartbreaking’ but was necessary due to family commitments and difficulty hiring new staff.

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Lynn said: ‘I’ve had children here that have been and then brought their own children - I even had a nan which was quite scary.

Bunny Warren in the early 1980s, featuring a young Stephen Morgan, fourth from left, top row.Bunny Warren in the early 1980s, featuring a young Stephen Morgan, fourth from left, top row.
Bunny Warren in the early 1980s, featuring a young Stephen Morgan, fourth from left, top row.

‘The happiest time is when we come in first thing in the morning. It doesn’t matter what mood you’re in as soon as you see those smiley faces, that's why I stayed so long in the job.

‘There's so much to do within childcare and there's never a dull moment, that's for sure.’

Lynn’s love of children began while working as a babysitter in early adulthood, leading her to pursue qualifications in childcare. For 32 years, Lynn was accompanied by assistant manager Keren Gleave. The nursery held a ‘memory day’ on Friday, December 9, for past pupils, parents and staff to come and share their memories. Some parents even staged a mock protest at the gate, refusing to let Lynn leave unless she agreed to keep Bunny Warren open.

Lynn Harris and Keren Gleave on the last day at Bunny WarrenLynn Harris and Keren Gleave on the last day at Bunny Warren
Lynn Harris and Keren Gleave on the last day at Bunny Warren
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Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan attended Bunny Warren as a preschooler and presented Lynn with an Inspiring Fratton Award in 2021 for more than 40 years in education.

Stephen said: ‘Lynn’s dedication and service to Fratton families over 42 years, and that of the whole team’s, is inspirational and well worth celebrating.

‘Portsmouth families will be very grateful and proud of what Lynn and team have done to support children in our community succeed and thrive. I thank them for that.

Bunny Warren children celebrate Pompey's FA Cup win in 2008Bunny Warren children celebrate Pompey's FA Cup win in 2008
Bunny Warren children celebrate Pompey's FA Cup win in 2008

‘I have hugely fond memories of attending nursery at Fratton Community Centre as a child, and some embarrassing photographs to show for it!

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‘Access to high quality and affordable childcare is essential for working families to prosper, and for children to have the best starting blocks to succeed, but sadly provision is increasingly at risk.’