Sutton Benger children says goodbye to their head bear

This Is Wiltshire: Karen Swannack, in white, is surrounded by children at Benger Bears pre-school Karen Swannack, in white, is surrounded by children at Benger Bears pre-school

Karen Swannack, supervisor of Benger Bears pre-school, said goodbye to her colleagues and the children at an end of year party in Sutton Benger Village Hall.

The party was attended by about 120 guests, including many of the children at Benger Bears and some from earlier years, as well as families, committee and staff, and two former members of staff.

Ms Swannack joined Benger Bears as an assistant 15 years ago, after being a ‘rota mum’, has been supervisor for six years and served on the committee. Her first involvement with the pre-school goes back 30 years, when it operated from the old tin village hall, where the hall car park now stands.

She has been an instrumental part in fundraising events such as the pyjama day for meningitis, and a soup lunch for Wiltshire Air Ambulance, and for the pre-school by co-ordinating the Easter Trail each year.

Ms Swannack said she was “beyond shocked” as she had not expected the party. She was overwhelmed to see so many faces from the past and was in tears for most of the event.

Among the many gifts Ms Swannack was presented with were a painting of bears sitting in a row which had all the children’s signatures on the reverse and vouchers for a West End theatre show and overnight stay.

She may still cover absences at local nurseries.

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