Saying thank you to Mrs Merrett in 1984

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No matter how old we get, we can all remember our favourite teacher.

They were that special person who made learning interesting and fun – they were so good they were even able to convince us that algebra would be of use in adult life (you lied to me, Mr Downham!)

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How many of us, though, remember our playgroup or nursery teachers? Probably nowhere near as many, which is sad because they were the people who held our sticky hands as we took those first tentative steps into the world of education.

One name that no doubt rings bells with people who grew up in Lindfield is Mary Merrett.

Mrs Merrett joined Lindfield Nursery School in 1963, looking after more than 90 three to five-year-olds every week.

There was doubtless nothing that woman didn’t know about finger painting, colouring-in or building blocks. She probably even knew every verse of If You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands.

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These pictures were taken in 1984 when staff, parents and children helped Mrs Merrett celebrate 21 years at the nursery.

The nursery was based in Denmans Lane and was affiliated with Elizabeth House School. The principal, Margaret Ramsey organised the party.

She said of Mrs Merrett: “She is a great friend, a nursery supervisor who really cares. She has been known and loved in Lindfield for many years and we wanted to show her how much we appreciate her.”

Among the residents who attended the party was Angela Willis, whose three sons had been among Mrs Merrett’s young charges.

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She said: “She is an absolute natural, a real wonder with the children. She has a warmth about her that children pick up the minute they start at the school. They know that she loves them and cares.”

While the grown-ups presented Mrs Merrett with a gold necklace and bracelet, the children marched onto the lawn, clutching their favourite bears, to the tune of The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.

Does anyone remember Mrs Merrett? For how long did she remain at the nursery?

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