Froglets playgroup in Ickleton celebrated its 30th birthday this week with a big party attended by current and former children and their parents.

The playgroup runs every Monday morning from Ickleton Village Hall, and has been led almost continually by mum-of-three Anne-Marie Hoare since 1993, supported by a committee of parent volunteers.

On Monday (October 23) Froglets parents and children from across the years attended a party at the playgroup, with homemade cakes and a special story time - featuring a story written by current Froglets parents and illustrated by Ickleton mum Melissa Gammons.

Children also decorated a 'Froglets 30' banner with their handprints.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Anne-Marie Hoare with the Froglets sign decorated with children's handprintsAnne-Marie Hoare with the Froglets sign decorated with children's handprints (Image: Froglets)

Mum-of-three Sharon Gilbert, who moved to the village in the early 2000s when her first child was a baby, said: "We came along and Anne-Marie and her sisters were some of the first people we met.

"I made such good friends with mums who had kids the same age, Froglets just brought us all together."

Over the years, the group has seen health visitors attending for weighing sessions, welcomed speakers on parenting and organised sessions from massage to soft play and Christmas crafts.

Recently Froglets has welcomed several Ukrainian families and their children who have joined host families in the area.

Mum Mandy Jeffery, whose children are now in their 20s, said: "It was a great place to meet and make friends when you had a baby.


"It’s so important to know you’re not alone and Froglets provides that mutual support and friendship."

Anne-Marie, who has lived in Ickleton all her life, started Froglets after helping out an existing under-fives group in the village following the birth of her first child Marley.

The anniversary event is raising money for Froglets and Arthur Rank Hospice - a charity close to Anne-Marie's heart following Marley's death in 2018. 

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Anne-Marie said: "The success of Froglets is testament to our community and all the parents who have mucked in to keep it running over the years.

"So many of our families have faced challenges, but Froglets has always been a place where you don’t have to go through it alone."