John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono has backed the fight against plans to close a children’s centre at the school he went to as a boy.

Yoko, who made an emotional visit to the £1m Surestart centre at Dovedale school in Mossley Hill less than a year ago, said she “strongly supported” the campaign to keep it open.

It is one of four facing closure as the council tries to save £91m this year following government spending cuts..

Parents said they were thrilled Yoko, 78, could use her international fame to shine a light on their battle.

Yoko told the ECHO: “I was very very happy to open the centre at Dovedale and to know how much it is loved and well used by the parents and the children.

“I strongly support the campaign to keep the centre open.”

She also sent a heart-warming message of support to the parents and children at the centre, adding: “When I visited you, all of you gave me a big smile.

“I will never forget that day.

“We are family. I love you, Yoko.”

When Yoko , who married John Lennon in 1969, the year before the Beatles split, visited the centre in September last year, it had only been open a matter of weeks.

She said it was a great way of “celebrating John’s 70th birthday”, which was marked the following month, and told the youngsters to have a “long, long, beautiful life.”

Today, parent Emma Rowley said the closure of the centre and the disruption it would cause would be distressing for children and parents.

Mrs Rowley, 32, said: “It will be a problem for all of us.

“We have made some friends there that we would never have known if we did not go there.

“I was really shocked when I heard it might close, it’s really disappointing, a really big mistake.

“Obviously it might not be apparent now but in a few years to come it will have a big impact on the community.

“It’s really built up community links and brought people together.”

Consultations on the closures are on going following the passing of the council’s budget earlier this month, at which Lib-Dem members opposed the closures at the last minute after working jointly with the Labour group on the spending plans for months.

Council leader Cllr Joe Anderson said the authority wanted to work in a constructive way with communities affected by the all the potential closures to find a way forward.