AN award-winning children's nursery in Cheshire has been sold to a regional giant.

The Culcheth Day Nursery was rated as outstanding by Ofsted in 2019 and won the Early Years Award at the Warrington Guardian Education Awards twice, in 2019 and 2022.

Now it has been acquired by Thrive Childcare and Education which owns nearly 50 nurseries across the north of England and Scotland.

Debbie Byrne-Davies, a qualified nursery nurse, became the owner of the nursery in 2001 after returning from a period of maternity leave. She originally joined as a nursery nurse in 1994, before progressing to become the nursery manager.

Debbie said: “I felt this was the right time for me to pass the nursery to new owners. Myself and the nursery team have worked very hard to grow the business and I am very proud of what we have achieved.

“Like many other nurseries, the pandemic was a particularly difficult time for us but the team has worked extremely hard and built the nursery back up – which was recognised with us being awarded the Warrington Guardian Early Years Award for the second time earlier this year.”

As Debbie heads into retirement, Louise Walsh, who has worked at the nursery for 25 years, will take over the day-to-day management of the nursery.

Debbie added: “One of the things that attracted me to Thrive was that they encourage their nurseries to be unique and keep the personal touch. They don’t make changes for change’s sake and their priority is to support the nursery team to provide the best care possible.”

Cary Rankin, thrive chief executive officer, said: “We were impressed by Debbie’s passion and management of the nursery which has shone through. We are confident in the nursery team to excel, with the support of Thrive, to maintain the high standards Debbie set, their standing in the local area and to continue their own individual progression.”

Michael Forrester, Head of Acquisitions at Thrive, said: “At Thrive we only buy successful nursery businesses, so were very pleased to acquire the Culcheth Day Nursery. I would like to thank Debbie for her hard work and perseverance during what is a difficult juggling act of selling and running a business simultaneously, our legal team at TLT, our financial team at Mazars and our Early Years external consultant.  

“We hope to speak to more nursery owners who, like Debbie, are willing to speak and deal with us directly.”