Families across Norfolk have been thrown into crisis as the sudden closure of three nurseries is announced.

Alpha Nurseries has confirmed it has closed all of its sites including The Magic Tree Nursery in Dereham, Safe Hands Day Nursery in Diss and The Willows Day Nursery in Downham Market. 

The company is based in Ipswich and has provided nursery and after-school childcare at 22 sites across seven counties. 

It also has centres in Suffolk, including the Seashore Day Nursery in Lowestoft, as well as Essex, Kent, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Staffordshire.

On Friday managing director Gerard Dooley wrote to parents telling them that the company was closing with immediate effect.

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His letter said: "It is with great sadness that we are writing to inform you that the directors of Alpha Nurseries (and all subsidiary companies) have regretfully had to make the decision to cease trading from today due to its financial position.

"As a consequence, all nursery facilities will close with effect from today and will not re-open.

"This was an extremely difficult decision and was not taken lightly, however essentially there was no ability for the business to continue."

Insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor have been engaged to put Alpha Nurseries into Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation.

Mr Dooley's letter adds: "Please accept our sincere apologies for any difficulty which this may cause you and your family and we hope you are able to secure alternate arrangements as soon as possible."

Parents in Norfolk have taken to social media in desperate search of replacement childcare.

Has your family been affected by the closures? Email Eleanor.Storey@newsquest.co.uk