Best-selling children’s author Nick Butterworth was the guest of honour at the official opening of The Lodge Day Nursery in Ipswich this week.

Described as a ‘home-from-home’, The Lodge is the latest venture by Ipswich School and provides year-round, high quality day care for children from three months to three years.

Situated close to Christchurch Park in the heart of Ipswich, The Lodge has a dedicated library space within the building, so that children can grow up with a love of books and reading. With Nick Butterworth famous for his Percy the Park Keeper stories it was fitting that he was invited to unveil the official plaque dedicating the building.

In the afternoon before the opening ceremony, Mr Butterworth spent time in Ipswich Prep School, where he gave a talk to parents on the importance of reading. He also talked to Reception and Nursery pupils about how he writes stories, and read them the story of The Hedgehog’s Balloon, complete with a balloon and a sketch of a hedgehog which he had just drawn.

Amanda Childs, Head of Ipswich Prep and the driving force behind The Lodge, said: “We were delighted to welcome Mr Butterworth to Ipswich Prep and The Lodge. His enthusiasm for stories was infectious, and his talks were enjoyed by pupils, parents, staff and visitors alike – we loved to hear his memories of reading and seeing him quickly sketch animals from a few squiggles on a page.”

She added: “With Christchurch Park at the end of the road, and with so many of the paintings on the walls of The Lodge reflecting the natural world including squirrels, hedgehogs and owls, it seemed very fitting that we asked Mr Butterworth to officially open our new nursery, placing reading and a love of books and learning at the heart of what we do with children here.”

Nick Butterworth said: “I was very honoured to be invited to open The Lodge and I was very impressed with what I’ve seen and how much care has gone into it, it seems such a happy place. It was a great pleasure to be with the children during the afternoon, they were so refreshing. Sharing the joy of stories is more than just sharing books, it is sharing time. I don’t think there’s a more important investment in a child’s future than helping them to learn to read. It stimulates their imaginations and opens them to the possibility of thinking beyond their own limitations.”

The Lodge was originally the Adjutant’s house from the former army barracks in Ipswich, and in recent years had been an NHS clinic. Whilst it retains a number of original features such as fireplaces and windows to help create the home-from-home feel, it has been completely renovated to give it a new lease of life as a nursery for young children.

There are dedicated rooms for babies, including sleeping rooms with cots, and the older children – spacious rooms where the children can play and develop, providing them with stimulating spaces to learn and grow in. The outdoor garden includes a hedgehog house designed to look like The Lodge, as we work closely with Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

You can see photos from the launch here.

More information is available at or people can call 01473 282811 to book a tour around The Lodge and meet Hayley List, the Nursery Manager.