One of Cumbria’s only outstanding-rated childminders is retiring after more than 25 years in childcare.

Lynda Collings, 65, from Ulverston, has been a registered childminder since 1994, looking after dozens of children across her 25 years in the business.

She established her childminding company ‘Little Stars Childcare’ in 1994 which went on to achieve three outstanding Ofsted reports, becoming only the second childminder in Cumbria to receive such a grading.

As well as this, Ms Collings is a qualified nurse and sign language teacher, frequently teaching classes for special needs pupils in her free time.

Her son, Glenn Collings, said he was extremely proud of his mother’s achievements within the community.

He said: “Mum has been an inspiration to myself and three brothers Craig, Ross and Bruce, managing to raise four boys whilst giving full-time outstanding childcare to many of Ulverston’s young children. I’ve been amazed at the energy and dedication she has shown in raising kids from babies to starting school age and always going above and beyond in carrying out out all the extra-educational activities, while maintaining her beaming smile and positive energy.

“Mum deserves her retirement more than anyone and it’s testament to her character that she will be spending it doing her passion of teaching children to sign language. We are proud to have her as our mum and an inspirational woman.”

Ms Collings has been practicing sign-language for nine years, teaching it professionally within schools over the past year. She plans on continuing her sign language classes, which caters for children of all disabilities, throughout her retirement.

She said: “My sign language group allows me to still work with children while I’m retired but with less of the responsibility.

“However, I am going to miss the family-bonding of child-minding. You have these children from babies and build up a bond between them. They’ve brought so much to me as I have to them.”

In her retirement, Ms Collings plans to purchase a caravan and go travelling. She is also a keen swimmer and table-tennis player, hoping to dedicate more time to these activities.

“I’m so excited for all this free time but equally I am very sad; it’s the end of an era," she said. "Even the parents have become my friends and I’ll miss those special relationships.”

She added: “A child in my care just recently looked out the car window and saw the moon, he said, ‘Lynda there’s the moon, I’m going to go there in a red spaceship, would you like to come with me?’

“Well that sums it all up really. There have been so many moments, I have a unique memory to treasure of each child over the past 25 years.”