Lightning-hit children's centre in Highworth reopens
A CHILDREN’S centre, which was forced to close after a lightning strike caused £10,000 worth of damage to its building, reopened yesterday.
The freak storm which struck Ladybird’s centre, in Highworth four weeks ago, plunged the building into darkness and meant the grounds were left without security after the lightning hit the electrics.
Computers, security systems and fire alarms all had to be replaced before the centre could allow youngsters to use its services again.
The centre was scheduled to shut for a two-week holiday but had to close for a further two weeks while repairs took place.
“It’s really lucky it was over the summer holidays,” said centre co-ordinator Jane Greening.
“We could see the storm coming in over Gloucester, then we saw it hit the playground and all the lights went out.”
No children were at the centre when the lightning struck at 6.30pm.
The nearby Westrop Primary School also had to shut on its last day of the school year as its building was also affected by the strike.
To celebrate the re-opening, staff hosted a fun day at Ladybird which scores of families attended.
The children enjoyed a bouncy castle, hook a duck, face painting, free play and a visit from a police car.
“It’s brilliant the centre is reopened.
“My children cried every time they went past the gate and it was shut,” said mum-of-five Emma McShearry, 40, of Highworth.
“This is a little lifeline for my kids. They love coming here.
“Today’s been brilliant to allow all the kids to see each other after the break.”
Kerry-Anne Law, 29, of Highworth whose two children Maddie, three, and five-year-old Lyla, use the centre said she was delighted the building was open again.
“It’s been hard having it shut over the summer,” she said.
“The kids really enjoy coming here.
“They have enjoyed today, especially being able to go in a police car.”
Jane said the Ladybird Centre could be merged with the Saplings Children’s Centre in Stratton, under plans being considered by Swindon Council’s to reshape funding for the 14 children’s centres in the borough.
“We are just hoping it will go our way and we will be the lead centre,” said Jane “Because we are a rural area there is nowhere else for people to go.”
Last week, the Adver launched a Save Our Children’s Centres petition and received almost 800 signatures which will be presented to the council.
Comments are closed on this article.