A pioneering figure in children’s nursery provision in Huddersfield has died aged 68.
Rosemary Murphy was the founder of Lindley-based Portland Nurseries and the charity National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), based at Bradley.
The mother of four opened Portland House Nursery in Lindley in 1991. Through her vision and dedication the business grew to acquire Harlequin Nursery in 1996, Holly Bank Nursery in 2001 and Oakwood House Nursery and Forest School in 2010 to form Portland Nurseries Ltd.
Over the 27 years since the first nursery opened the group has provided care and early years education for more than 7,000 children and has also raised more than £100,000 for charities including WaterAid, Children in Need, the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and Candlelighters.
Rosemary chaired the NDNA for three years before becoming its chief executive in 1998. She won charitable status for the organisation to represent the sector by providing support, advice, training and quality improvement schemes to centres across the country.
In 2001 Rosemary received the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to early years.
With government funding she developed eight NDNA centres of excellence in areas of deprivation around the UK offering day care to support parents back to work and training and qualifications to nursery staff.
Rosemary, who lived at Edgerton, retired from the NDNA in 2005 to further develop her own nurseries. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2014 she handed over the running of nurseries to two of her children, Michael and Anastasia. She also leaves her husband, Michael, and two other daughters, Francesca and Leoncia.