Queensferry nursery manager retires after 30 years at Tom Thumb

A Queensferry nursery manager has retired after working with hundreds if not thousands of children over the past three decades.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 5:00 am
Tom Thumb nursery manager Debbie Urquhart, pictured as a pirate with the children.

Debbie Urquhart (60) has worked at Tom Thumb Nursery for 30 years, starting in September 1991, in the YMCA at the old kirk in the Vennel.

She said: “It was very much a family affair with all my family being involved.

"I always wanted it to be a place where children felt at home and loved.

Debbie Urquhart, manager of Tom Thumb Nursery in Queensferry.

"I was never worried about the children leaving nursery being able to count or write their name, the important part for me was the experiences they received to enrich their lives and the memories they left with.

"The look of joy, amazement, wonder and happiness in their faces, always made the hard work worthwhile."

Despite how long Debbie has worked with local children at the nursery, she is still surprised when adults recall their time at Tom Thumb.

She said: “It always amazed me that I still have children who are now in their late 20s who come up and say ‘hi’ and say they can remember being in nursery!

"Living and teaching in the community just had such a nice warm feeling. A feeling of belonging and one which I will miss, but the memories I take away will always be there.

"The fun and laughter I have had over the years with the things children say and do and the pride I feel in being part of their little lives will always be with me.”

Recalling specific memories of life at the nursery, Debbie added: “I leave with many happy memories.

“I have at least four boxes of dress-up clothes at home! Plus all our themed days – the wedding we held in the parish church with two of our children with the reception being at the then Moorings.

"Celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee and getting the crown and robes from the ferry fair committee. We also crowned our own Queen and had a street party when we celebrated Prince William’s wedding.

“And our popular nativity plays in the parish church brought the warm ‘Christmas feel’ every year.”

Debbie, who is from the town, has a son and daughter and three grandsons. She plans to work on her golf in her retirement, and visit her kids and grandkids who live in London and America, when Covid-19 allows.