THE owner of a nursery school has spoken of her heartbreak decision to close the business.

Rocking Horse Nursery at Oxenhope will shut on January 14.

Ruth Clements took on the running of the Denholme Road facility four years ago following the death from cancer of her mum, Kathryn.

But she says the business – which currently caters for around 27 children – has been hit hard by the pandemic, and is no longer viable.

Ruth – who was born and brought-up in the village, and now lives at Haworth – said: "My mum had owned the nursery for about 30 years but she died within a very short space of time from cancer in 2017, which came as a massive blow to us all.

"I had no childcare qualifications and it wasn't something I particularly wanted to do, however I didn't want to see the nursery that my mum had built-up fold so I took on the role. I wanted to do my mum proud.

"And it was working. We've just had a good Ofsted report.

"But lockdown hit us really hard and it's been such a difficult time.

"I've had Covid-19 myself.

"An accumulation of things have brought us to this point.

"Unfortunately it is just not viable to keep the nursery running any more.

"We've had to fund it from our own pockets, and we can't keep on doing that.

"We did our best."

One parent ­– who didn't wish to be named – contacted the Keighley News, voicing concerns.

She said that parents had been left to try to secure alternative childcare for the new year, with no help.

She added: "The closure was announced by email on a Saturday evening, with notice over the Christmas period.

"No alternative childcare has been suggested or support offered to parents.

"We have been left absolutely devastated by the news that the nursery school has decided to close so suddenly at such a challenging time of year, when all other nursery schools within a five-mile radius are full and not accepting any more children."

But Ruth said the vast majority of parents had been understanding and supportive, and that she was trying to help them find alternative provision for their children.

"I appreciate that the parents are upset – I am deeply upset too and we have eight staff employed here," she said.

"It is impacting us as well."