WARM and loving tributes have been paid to a popular Bury childminder Lynn Shepherdson, who has retired after nearly 30 years.

Since 1985, “Auntie Lynn”, as she has been affectionately known, has looked after more than 200 youngsters.

And she is still in regular touch with many of her former young charges, a large number of whom are now aged in their 20s and 30s with children of their own.

Lynn, aged 60, who lives in Grantham Drive, remembers all their names and still sends birthday cards to those who were once in her care.

Her popularity was illustrated when several parents of youngsters she had previously looked after organised a surprise retirement party at Brandlesholme Cricket Club.

Lynn had been invited to attend the club on the pretext of looking around the premises.

But 90 minutes before she was scheduled to attend, the mother-of-two discovered that she was going to be the centre of attention.

“They’d told me the visit was to mark the opening of the new cricket club,” she said. “The event went wonderfully well and it was still a lovely surprise. I would like to thank everyone for all their hard work, all my friends who were there and also the ones who could not come.

“They are all in my heart and I’m thinking about them.

“Later that day, I had a phone call from Australia from one parent who got to hear about my retirement.”

As a childminder, Lynn looked after youngsters aged up to 17. “We’d go all over the show,” she recalled. “To toddler groups, church events, picnics and into Manchester for things like the Chinese New Year and Christmas markets”.

During her career, she received two “outstanding” Ofsted reports, was a support minder, a crisis worker for Social Services and chairman for many years of the Bury Borough Childminding Association.

Her retirement party was organised by Janice Briggs, Susan Hartley and Tania Jamieson, whose children had been looked after by Lynn, and her eldest daughter, Kate.

Mrs Briggs said: “A lot of the mums and dads whose children went to Lynn have become good friends and all go out together. She is a core person who is always happy. She remembers events in all the children’s lives.”