Sheringham store boss ensures nursery children don’t miss out on royal celebrations

Sheringham toy shop owner Barry Starling handing a mug commemorating the Queen's 90th birthday to fo

Sheringham toy shop owner Barry Starling handing a mug commemorating the Queen's 90th birthday to four-year-old Ladybird Pre-School Nursery members Ruby and Ellis. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

When Sheringham toy shop owner Barry Starling heard that the town council planned to hand out mugs to local children to commemorate the Queen's 90th birthday, he was keen to make sure youngsters at Ladybird Pre-School Nursery, which his late wife helped found, didn't miss out.

So, Mr Starling decided to pay for the group's 47 two-to-four-year-olds to receive a mug and, last week, he delivered the mementoes to the Cromer Road nursery with the help of Sheringham mayor David Gooch.

Nearly 1,300 of the mugs, which bear a photograph of the Queen on one side and an inscription on the other, have been presented to children and young people aged up to 18.

However, because of cost restrictions, councillors agreed that only those living in Sheringham would receive mugs, and because a number of Ladybird youngsters live in outlying villages, they were not eligible.

Mr Starling's wife Jackie, who died in 2014, was an assistant at the group when it started in 1976 at the home of local woman Evelyn Meakin, and continued to work there until she became ill in 2008.

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'Both my daughters went to Ladybird,' Mr Starling explained. 'And, when I heard that some of the children might not get a mug, I wanted to give something back.'

The mugs, which have been supplied at the substantially discounted price of £2 each by Jeremy Stubbs of Stubbs Mugs, Cromer, were taken home by youngsters at the end of a week of royal-themed activities.

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As well as making their own Queen masks, Ladybird members baked 90th birthday biscuits, enjoyed a picnic and created a cardboard box Buckingham Palace.

Thanking Mr Starling for his generosity, Ladybird office supervisor Helen Jewers said: 'It is a wonderful gesture and it is extremely kind of Barry to make sure all of our children are included on this very special occasion.'

Ladybird Pre-School Nursery will be offering all-day term time sessions for children age between two and four from September. Running from 9am-3.45pm, the sessions will include a lunch club. For more information, phone 01263 824325 or email

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