Barbour Nursery School marks 20 years at its Hillhall home

Principal of Barbour Nursery Tracey Cassells with Mrs Geddis
Principal of Barbour Nursery Tracey Cassells with Mrs Geddis

Lisburn’s Barbour Nursery School recently staged a special event to mark 20 years at its Hillhall home.

Staff, parents, governors and pupils gathered for a Sports Day and Graduation Ceremony in celebration of the anniversary.

Principal Tracey Cassells of Barbour cuts the cake with the help of a member of staff

Principal Tracey Cassells of Barbour cuts the cake with the help of a member of staff

The nursery school first opened in 1970 in the Barbour Pavilion at Union Bridge.

The building was named for the prominent local linen-making family who gifted the land on which it stood to the people of Lisburn.

There the school remained for 25 years, but, the building having become unfit for purpose, staff and governors began an ultimately successful campaign that saw the nursery rehoused at Hillhall.

“We are so fortunate,” said Principal, Tracey Cassells amid the celebrations, “to be situated on such large and beautiful grounds.

“People often remark how the school is like an oasis in this city area.”

Welcoming families from across the greater Lisburn area, Barbour Nursery School’s achievements over the years include securing an Eco-schools Green Flag and several awards as Best Kept Pre-Primary school in the South Eastern area, a title it currently holds.

Ms Cassells praised parents and staff for all their hard work - not least maintaining the garden areas - in contributing to the school’s ongoing success.

Among the specially invited guests at last week’s event was former principal, Ann Truesdale, who recalled a plaque, at the entrance to the old Barbour Pavilion, which read: “The child went forth and what he saw, that he became.’”

It represented, she said, an importantreminder to parents and teachers of the important role they play in children’s early education.

After their sports races, the children received their medals and tucked into treats from an ice-cream van.

On behalf of parents, staff and governors, Ms Cassells presented a gift to Mrs Geddis, marking he retirement after more than 30 years at the school in a variety of roles.

She would be missed, the principal said, by staff and children alike. Ms Cassells and her predecessor Ms Truesdale then cut a celebration cake, baked by one of the pare nts.

The children danced the morning away at a disco while parents enjoyed refreshments in the playground.