THE THREE Kings did their part, but a community came bearing gifts for a much-loved preschool worker on her retirement.

For nearly three decades Julie Swan has been one of the north stars of the team at Harting Preschool.

The deputy manager doesn’t like to cause a fuss but Tamsin Cormack and her friends felt like 27 years of devotion to the village’s children deserved “something special”.

Parents and supporters showed their appreciation with a surprise presentation after the preschool’s nativity in the village hall.

A book of memories complied by appreciative parents and colleagues was presented while the preschool “did a little whip round” for the “village’s favourite childminder”.

Many of the parents who watched their toddler grace the stage were probably once under Julia’s care, such has been her longevity and dedication to the preschool.

“After 27 incredible years of looking after, caring for and teaching the children of Harting Preschool Julie Swain is going to retire for a well deserved rest,” said Tamsin, who chairs the preschool committee.

“When Julie first got involved she realised was really good at looking after children. That was nearly 30 years ago.

“Julie has looked after so many children in the village and we’ve been fortunate to have her. I want to say a huge thank you to Julie on behalf of the community of Harting.”

Julie, perhaps feeling overwhelmed, said few words but thanked everyone for their kindness and said it had been a pleasure to look after so many of the village’s children.