Matlock Pre-School Playgroup, which has sites in Smedley Street and Woolley Road, had spent weeks planning the festive event which included stalls, games, refreshments and a Santa’s grotto and had invited all pupils, parents, carers and their friends and families to attend.
Numerous local businesses also pledged their support by donating prizes to boost the fundraising efforts but, just two days before it was scheduled to take place, the difficult decision was made to cancel the event at All Saint’s Church Hall due to concerns about the rise in Covid-19 cases.
Determined not to let their efforts be wasted, the innovative playgroup team set about converting all the plans into virtual events, messaging parents with details and setting up web forms to allow everyone to take part to ensure the fair went ahead online on the day as planned – raising what has just been announced as £482 in the process.
Playgroup manager Kirsty Tonks said: “It’s amazing achievement turned around so quickly following concerns about coronavirus and the disappointment of cancelling our event and we thank everyone for pulling out all the stops to make sure it happened.
“We even arranged for Santa to send video messages to the children accompanied by presents we arranged to be dropped off or picked up from playgroup which meant they didn’t miss out on that exciting experience.
“On behalf of the staff team and committee I’d like to thank parents, families and friends for taking part in the virtual games and stalls, all their donations, delicious baking, IT support, film-editing, grotto-creation and stand-in Santa skills.
"I also want to say a big thank you to the eight local businesses who supported us with generous contributions which helped to make our virtual event a fund-raising success.
“Despite having just a couple of days’ notice to turn disappointment into success we were proud to host an event which has raised such an impressive amount of money, as well as one which everyone really enjoyed and the children found really exciting.”