Managing Director and co-founder of Busy Bees receives OBE from Prince William, recognising 32 years of outstanding contribution to children and families

Busy Bees, the largest childcare provider in the UK, has been honoured with receiving not one but two OBEs this year for outstanding individual contributions to childcare. This week co-founder and managing director Marg Randles was presented with her medal, whilst co-founder and CEO John Woodward will be receiving his medal for outstanding contribution to in December.

Marg celebrated her big day in typical style, making it all about the children. Spending the day with her family by her side, Marg first insisted on settling 18 month old grandson Louis at her Busy Bees Westminster nursery for his own special morning, before heading off to the palace. Louis is the second generation of Busy Bees babies, as son Jack and daughter Emma were amongst the very first children enrolled at the first nursery Busy Bees nursery, The Rocklands, in Lichfield.

Once the ceremony was over and official pictures were taken at the palace, there was time for a quick memento-pic with CBE-honored Johnny Wilkinson, before Marg headed straight back to the nursery. Delighted to be sharing in the celebrations, Nursery Manager Linday Garstin and her dedicated team greeted her with balloons, bunting and cake along with a bundle of excited pre-school children clutching flowers and home-made cards. It was a close call between her sparkly fascinator and her shiny medal winning over the interests of the children, but Marg was clearly in her element as the children swarmed around her asking questions and painting her pictures to take home.

Commenting on her day Marg said:

“What an amazing day. I feel extremely privileged not only to have been given the opportunity to receive this award but also to have been able to dedicate my working life to doing something I really love. I am fortunate to have worked with many talented people who have all contributed to the success of Busy Bees and ultimately to this recognition today.  Together we have helped to shape the lives of thousands of children over the years and intend to help to shape the lives of many more.

Busy Bees was founded thirty years ago by six teachers who wanted to make a difference in the Early Year’s sector after feeling frustrated with the lack of good quality, flexible care available for their own children. Marg and John, with their respective spouses Pete and Lynn, sold their homes to afford their first nursery.  They lived above the nursery for three years and had the most exciting period building their quality template.

Thirty-two years on Marg and John are still at the helm to ensure that, throughout its growth, Busy Bees continues to deliver quality childcare to families across the UK, and since February this year, across the globe.

Busy Bees Nurseries timeline:


  • 1983 – Busy Bees Childcare Nurseries was founded
  • 1984 – First nursery was opened; The Rocklands, Lichfield
  • 1989 – Founded Busy Bees Consultancy
  • 1998 – Founded Busy Bees Childcare Vouchers
  • 2006 – Sold Busy Bees to ABC Learning Centres
  • 2007 – Purchase of Leapfrog Nurseries
  • 2008 – Sold Busy Bees Childcare Vouchers
  • 2009 – Purchased Busy Bees back with backing from Knowledge Universe
  • 2010 – Busy Bees Benefits was founded
  • 2012 – Busy Bees purchased Just Learning Ltd (incorporating Nunu and Careshare)
  • 2013 – Ontario Teachers' Pension Plans invests in Busy Bees Nurseries to help fund international expansion
  • 2014 – Busy Bees acquires Kinder Nurseries (incorporating 12 nurseries and Meredale Primary School - a co-educational independent primary school)
  • 2014 – Busy Bees acquires 12 Caring Daycare Nurseries (incorporating two Sure Start Centres, three Major Minors nurseries and one Noah’s Ark nurseries)
  • 2014 – Busy Bees launches Bitteswell Montessori
  • 2015 – Busy Bees acquires 60 Knowledge Universe nurseries across Singapore and Malaysia and Singapore’s Asian International College
  • 2015 – May, Busy Bees launches The Oxford nursery
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