Fond farewell to Balcombe childminder: ‘She is just the most incredible, kind and loving person’

Parents and children turned out in Balcombe on Wednesday, March 17, to bid farewell to a longstanding childminder.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 3:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 3:38 pm

Debbie James looked after children in the village for more than ten years.

The 64-year-old has now retired and moved to Haywards Heath.

As a surprise, parents and children presented her with goodbye presents and a wave off, leaving Debbie ‘overwhelmed and lost for words’.

Debbie James (centre) with parents and children. Picture: Steve Robards
Debbie James (centre) with parents and children. Picture: Steve Robards

Carol Jarvest, a mum of two boys, aged 13 and 16, told the Middy she will be ‘sorely missed’.

“She is just the most incredible, kind and loving person,” the 52-year-old said.

“She was so considerate and she would have a train of kids she would pick up from school and bring them back, day after day. The kids really enjoyed being there – there has never been a negative experience.”

She said Debbie was well thought of in the village and it was great to have had her around for so many years.

“When we turned up on Wednesday, she was really overwhelmed and lost for words,” added Carol.

Lisa Sykes, whose daughter Alice Burwell was looked after by Debbie, said: “Debbie has been a big part of my daughter’s childhood, looking after Alice as a baby at Buttercup Barn then all through primary school.

“As well as being so reliable and forgiving when my train was late home, she never missed helping the children make cards for Mother’s Day or Christmas and often filled you in on those little things you miss as a working mum.

“We were all in tears when Alice left for secondary school and we’ll miss Debbie very much.”

In response, Debbie said she felt honoured and ‘will miss the children so much’.

“After 12 years, and 53 beautiful children coming to my house, I am now no longer a childminder,” she added.

“I have had many laughs, a few tears, but the most amazing children, who are like family to me, some that I have looked after since babies first at Buttercup Barn, then with me as pre school and after schoolers.”

She said she has enough memories to last her a lifetime, and looks forward to keeping in touch.

“I will get round to thanking you all,” added Dabbie.

She told parents: “You all have the most amazing children and I’m so honoured to have been part of their lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”