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Busy Bees nursery founder presented with OBE after Perivale visit

John Woodward stopped by Busy Bees in Perivale on his way to Buckingham Palace as a thank you to his dedicated staff

The founder of Busy Bees children's nursery visited staff in Perivale on his way to Buckingham Palace to pick up his OBE.

Chief executive John Woodward spent some time with children and staff at the Perivale nursery, which he opened 23 years ago.

Later he collected a medal for services to Childcare and Education, just two weeks after his co-founder (and managing director) Marg Randles received her medal from Prince William for outstanding contribution to children and families.

John was instrumental in appointing the Perivale nursery's joint Managers, Lindsey Barrett and Denise Arbouine, 22 years ago, and attributes the company’s success to the dedication of staff like them.

He said: “Lindsey and Denise share the same passion and dedication that Marg and I started out with 30 plus years ago and still maintain.

"It’s this, combined with their sheer hard work and motivation has been the reason behind this nursery’s success and recognition as a Centre of Excellence as well as gaining an abundance of shining accolades from Ofsted, Food for Life and Five Stars from the Environmental Health Food Hygiene Rating along the way.

“They’ve also grown so many talented Busy Bees staff over the years and it’s this that I really wanted to acknowledge – it’s not an award just for me, it’s an award and national recognition for every single member of staff who’ve helped us achieve our successes.”

Global ambitions

Denise recalled meeting John back in 1993 and said the job had been a great journey and brought many special times.

"We met John when Busy Bees only had a handful of nurseries. By the end of 2015 we are be part of a huge organisation with 251 nurseries, two children centres and a school across the UK and a substantial footprint in South East Asia.

"It’s incredible to believe that John and Marg, like us, are also still at the helm – it seems nobody wants to leave Busy Bees.”

The company was founded 32 years ago by six teachers who wanted to make a difference in the early years sector after feeling frustrated with the lack of good quality, flexible care available for their own children. Marg and John, with their respective spouses Pete and Lynn, sold their homes to afford their first nursery.

They lived above the nursery for three years while they built the business and Busy Bees is now the largest childcare provider in the UK, with global ambitions.

John, who lived next door to the Perivale for a time, added: “If I got my wish we’d be taking every member of staff who helped us on our journey to Buckingham Palace – they deserve it every bit as much. But the next best thing is sharing this moment with two of the most fabulous nursery managers we have in the business today.

“It’s thanks to Lindsey and Denise and our other like-minded managers that we can continue to grow. Whether it’s in the UK, Singapore, China or India it’s always going to be about finding the right people – people who are committed to providing the very best outcomes for children. Simple.”

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