FANCY dress, a special tea party and a visit from a magician were all part of the 20th birthday celebrations at Little Angels Day Nursery in Stonehouse.

The nursery kicked off a week long celebration on Monday with a party which included a special birthday tea, a cake, and a visit from magician Ian Bradshaw.

Nursery owner Helen Taylor started the business from scratch 20 years ago when she was struggling to find work after having her third child.

"I had just completed a course in computing at college in Gloucester and while I was there it was easy for me to drop the girls into the day care provided by the college but once my course ended I wasn't sure what to do," she said.

"Gloucester was too far to travel everyday and Stroud was in the wrong direction for me, and I began thinking surely there are lots of other women out there having this problem."

In the end Helen found the perfect solution to her childcare and travel needs Ð she built a nursery next door to her house.

"Our family used to live in what is now the nursery, and the nursery used to be next door," said Helen, who now lives in Malvern. 

"In 1999, about six years after we started, I wanted to expand the original nursery, however we couldn't get the planning permission so in the end we just decided to swap over.

"Me, the girls and my husband Peter moved into the original nursery building and we turned our house into the nursery that is still standing today."

For Helen the nursery has become ingrained in her family history.

"My youngest daughters Holly and Brooke were two of the 32 children we originally started with, we now have 105," she said.

"Brooke actually shares her birthday with the nursery as she turned three on Monday, February 1, 1993, the same day that we opened."