A dream has come true for two mums who have opened their own Be Happy pre-school after three years of negotiating with Slough Council to acquire their ideal site.

It all began when Helen Lawuo-Meena's children were young and she began to use the services of child minder Julie Richards, who became a personal friend.

Helen, 42, of Walpole Road, Burnham, said: "We got talking and I asked why she had not opened her own nursery.

"She said she had thought about it but was too nervous to do it on her own because it felt a bit intimidating."

The inevitable happened and the two ladies decided to team up. Within six months they had found a venue at St Paul's church in Stoke Road, Slough where Julie had run the Sunday school and and helped with a toddlers' club.

But they really wanted a place they could call their own - and they spotted it in Weekes Drive, Cippenham where an existing pre-school closed leaving the building empty.

Helen said: "It was owned by Slough Council and was being considered for demolition so that houses could be built.

"We had three years of meeting with the council to discuss it and when they finally said yes we moved in within six weeks."

It has marked quite a change of career for Helen, who previously worked as a finance manager for BUPA.

Her two children are now teenagers.

Julie, 44, of Wendover Road, Burnham has four of her own, two teenage and two much younger.

Both have supportive partners which helps and they have a small team of four working for them.