Chapel playgroup leader says goodbye after two decades

Emma Hibbert's last day  at Rainbow, St Thomas Becket Parish Church, Chapel-en-le-Frith
Emma Hibbert's last day at Rainbow, St Thomas Becket Parish Church, Chapel-en-le-Frith

After two decades of looking after other people’s children one playgroup leader has said goodbye.

Emma Hibbert, 46, ran both the Rainbow parent and toddlers at St Thomas Beckett Church and the Ark at the Methodist Church both in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Emma Hibbert

Emma Hibbert

The groups will still be going but she wants to focus on her family and other projects now.

She said: “I have looked after hundreds of children over the years and I am so proud of everyone who got involved.

“It can be quite daunting starting a new group but all those parents, grandparents and carers who walked through the doors I am so proud of them and the children because really have made life long friends.”
Emma, who lives on High Street in Chapel, started at the group after she had just had her second child, taking over from her former sister-in-law.

She said: “I didn’t have any qualifications I was just a mum offering her services.”

Before she had her first son she worked in the legal department for high Peak Borough Council and was going to pursue a secretarial role.

Rainbow originally ran on Mondays, although this increased to Fridays then Wednesdays too.

Emma, who is a mum-of-three, took over the Ark in 2008 and in 2010 as her children were older she decided to merge the two and become self-employed as she had to give up voluntary work.

She said: “It wasn’t just me I did have help and to those people who gave their time I can’t thank them enough.”
When Emma wasn’t at the groups or raising her own family she also cut the lawns at St Thomas Beckett’s Church.

She loves quiz night in the pub and says she doesn’t have time to be bored.

Now she has got to a stage in her life where she feel is the right time to leave the group behind.

“My youngest son will be sitting his GCSEs next summer so I want to be there to help him and also take some time for me and look for a new venture.”
Emma only said goodbye to the groups on Wednesday last week so will be relaxing for a while before starting her search.

Saying goodbye after 21 years

Emma said: “It was a very emotional last day, I am so proud of what I have achieved.

“I have been part of the community for most of my life and seen little ones grown up and I have just started to those adults come back with their little ones but now is the right time to say goodbye.

“I have made so many wonderful friends over the years and I know that others have too which is the best thing about the group and I hope it will continue.

“Thank you to every one who has been part of this journey.”
Emma and her partner Dave and his son are in a band called Sparkly Grouters which has ben going for 18 months, and now she is not working with youngsters anymore will be giving more time to that.

She said: “It’s very fun being in a band and I really enjoy it.

“We have played charity gigs for Blythe House and at the new inn in Chapel and do Status Quo and Eric Clapton covers its great fun.”