Ledbury's long-established pre-school group, Mucky Pups, has been saved from closure after securing new premises at the 11th hour.

The group, established three decades ago, used to meet in the cricket pavilion at John Masefield High School on Tuesdays to Fridays, with up to 20 local children at each session.

Work started on demolishing the pavilion this week, to make way for the school's new sixth-form block.

In November, the acting chairman Julia Warren said she feared the group would cease to exist at the end of the year.

However, treasurer Melanie Fish revealed this week that Mucky Pups, a registered

charity, will move into the former social services bungalow at Leadon Bank on Tuesday (January 14), when a new era for the group will begin.

"We're definitely very relieved," she said. "We've worked so hard for months and months to find new premises."

Mucky Pups has thanked Herefordshire Council for support in making the move possible quickly. The council even sent a removal van to the cricket pavilion on Monday (January 6), to help them transfer to the bungalow, which at present has only been offered to the club as a temporary solution.

However, staff at Mucky Pups are delighted with their new premises.

Mrs Fish said: "We have a playroom, an office, quiet room, kitchen and toilet. The pavilion was just a big room with a kitchen and toilet. We had a list of possible places and this one came up trumps."

Mucky Pups also enters the new year with a new supervisor, Zena Clueit, who takes over from Rachel Birt. In addition, two new members of staff are to be taken on, including a pre-school assistant and a trainee pre-school assistant, with a view to expanding the numbers of children at the sessions. Further details on Mucky Pups are available on 01531 631675.