A POPULAR pre-school will close after bosses decided “it could not continue” after the death of its owner.

April Eggleton, 76, died on November 8 after she was diagnosed with womb cancer in April.

She was well known and loved throughout the Basildon borough for creating and running Manor House Preschool for the past 45 years.

Mrs Eggleton created the school in 1974, transforming it from a mother and baby group, as she felt the area needed a preschool.

But now, the pre-school will close its doors, citing the sad death of Mrs Eggleton, as well as issues with changing the registered owner.

A large statement from the school on Facebook read: “We apologise that this has taken some time for us to share but as you can imagine, we’re still grieving for our owner April Eggleton.

“Unfortunately, we’ve come to the very difficult decision to close Manor House Pre School after an incredible 45 years.

“This decision has not made lightly and has been very difficult for the family and staff. We truly believe that Manor House would not be the same without April and would be far too difficult to continue, as she was the very heart of this organisation.

“Following that, Ofsted made it very difficult to reopen, telling us it will take 6-7 months to process Manor House in another name. During this time we knew that many parents and children would have moved on, meaning it would have been very difficult to rebuild.”

Even in her final months when she was fighting cancer, she still tried to be involved as much as possible with the school, originally on Worthing Road and now based in King Edward Road in Laindon.

Daughter, Tracy Hills, had continued to run the site.

The spokesman added: “What we do know is Manor House would not work without April, just as she didn’t work without her beloved preschool. We hope you can understand how difficult this decision was and that even without Manor House open, you’ll remember April and the happy memories at preschool.