March day nursery closes without warning – leaving parents upset and angry over lack of communication

Laura Gentry at Orchard Nursery, March

Laura Gentry at Orchard Nursery, March - Credit: Archant

A 35-place day nursery closed ­without warning, leaving parents angry and upset after many only discovered the closure when they went to drop off their children on Wednesday morning.

Mel Coles and Laura Gentry at Orchard Nursery, March 024.jpg

Mel Coles and Laura Gentry at Orchard Nursery, March 024.jpg - Credit: Archant

Orchards Day Nursery in Knights End Road, March, shut “with immediate effect” sparking an outcry on social media from parents furious at the lack of communication.

The nursery was run for the last three years by Laura Gentry as part of her Orchards Day Nursery Group but she died eight weeks ago and it’s her death which has been blamed for the closure.

Her son Sam blamed “unforeseen circumstances” for the “unfortunate position of having to close our March nursery with immediate effect.”

He said: “Our mother died only weeks ago, it was her death which precipitated our current position. We did not foresee or intend this to happen, it was very unexpected.

Mel Coles Laura Gentry Lisa Altoff Katia Crane with children at Orchard Nursery, March 046.jpg

Mel Coles Laura Gentry Lisa Altoff Katia Crane with children at Orchard Nursery, March 046.jpg - Credit: Archant


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“Given the stress, as a result of our bereavement, and on advice we had no choice but to cease operations for the foreseeable future.

“My mother and Orchards Day Nursery have always taken the responsibility of childcare extremely seriously and maintain high standards.

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“We feel that as a family and as a company we are unable to maintain this at March at this current time.

“This will not impact or impair the operations of our other nurseries; this decision was internal and particular to the March day nursery.”

Laura Gentry at Orchard Nursery, March

Laura Gentry at Orchard Nursery, March - Credit: Archant

Mrs Gentry, 63, of Hertfordshire, bought the nursery for £180,000 at auction in October 2012 and spent £250,000 revamping the building, which was previously Buttercups nursery.

She owned two others in Royston and St Neots and they are still operating as normal.

Mrs Gentry, who began her career as a junior teacher in London, opened her first day nursery in 1991.

Last year she argued with Ofsted over a poor report and forced a re-inspection which confirmed the ‘good’ rating.

One mother wrote on Facebook: “Such a shame was a wonderful nursery.”

A staff member posted on Facebook: “Because of Laura passing away a lot of things need to be sorted and they can’t keep open.

“We really don’t know if it will reopen and they said we may know within a couple weeks. I know all us staff want to help with looking after your children.”

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