Dedicated foster carers from Bedfordshire were given a big pat on the back at an awards ceremony.
The evening, hosted by Central Bedfordshire Council, recognised the “incredible job” people do in helping give children a start in life they may not otherwise have had.
More than 170 people attended the event, which saw a number of foster carers presented with awards to mark their outstanding achievements and long service.
Among those to be recognised were Jacquie and Pat Albon, who received an award marking 25 years of fostering.
The couple, who foster for Central Bedfordshire Council despite living just over the Bedford border in Sharnbrook, said: “We have cared for more than 100 children in the last 25 years, and it has been a privilege and a joy to be part of these young people’s lives.”
Councillor Carole Hegley, Executive Member for Social Care and Housing, said: “Our foster carers do a fantastic job providing a safe, stable and nurturing environment so children can flourish and meet their full potential.
“That is not always easy, and our foster carers face many challenges, often on a daily basis. However, they are dedicated, resilient and patient, and stick with our children because the rewards of fostering far outweigh the challenges.”
She added: ““The ultimate reward is when you can see a child blossom and you know as a carer that you have been able to have a positive impact on a child’s life.”
Chief Executive Richard Carr, who helped to present the awards, said: “It was an honour and a pleasure to be able to attend the Celebration of Fostering evening and to meet many of our foster carers and hear about the fantastic work they are doing.
“I was delighted to hear about local recognition which some of our male carers have received for being ‘great dads’ as well as national recognition for some of the sons and daughters of our foster carers for helping to welcome other children into their homes.”
Anyone interested in fostering should call 0300 300 8181, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/fostering
The full list of winners was:
Illa Gohil; Kempston
Jane Grimwood; Leighton Buzzard
Abdul Akida and Jessica Kobelo
William and Sharai Ngirandi; Stevenage
Cindy and Mim Taylor-Carter; Kempston
David and Julie Thorne
Simon and Kathryn Ward; Millbrook
Ros and Martin Kennedy
Kay Mills and Tony Wesley
Tracey and Graham Watkinson; Flitwick
Jacquie and Pat Albon; Sharnbrook
Outstanding contribution to caring for children with disabilities:
Carl and Tina Rowlands; Luton
Brilliant family and friends foster carer:
Nick Waterson and Beverley Kenny; Dunstable
Outstanding contribution to fostering:
Kay Mills and Tony Wesley
Special sons and daughters:
Jorge Canham; Bletchley
Fabulous foster carer:
William and Susan Bagnall; nr Sandy