A Northamptonshire foster carer who has devoted more than 40 years to caring for vulnerable children has retired.
Christine Hester has offered a home to more than 400 children and young people since she became a foster carer, from newborn babies to teenagers and sibling groups.
She began fostering in 1971 in Harrow, before moving to Brackley in 1987 where she continued fostering for Northamptonshire County Council.
Cllr Heather Smith, deputy leader and county council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Christine has been one of our most valued foster carers for almost 30 years, offering a home to some very vulnerable children in their time of need.
“The difference she has made to these children’s lives cannot be over-estimated and I would like to offer my own heart-felt thanks for the immeasurable contribution she has made to the council’s fostering service.”
Christine continued to foster children when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and following the death of her husband Tom.
Her daughter Karen Young said: “Chris has been through so much but still she always puts others first. The children become part of her family and are treated exactly the same way. She has a heart of gold and has so much love to give to children.
“My mum gives all her time to fostering and the children in her care and I am so proud of her.”
In 2012 Christine was selected as an Olympic torch bearer and received a national Woman of the Year award in recognition of her fostering work.
Could you foster?
Northamptonshire County Council is looking for more people like Christine who can offer short or long-term foster care to children in need.
To become a foster carer, people must:
- Have space and time in their life to care for a child
- Have a spare bedroom
- Be able to work as part of a team
- Be physically and mentally fit
- Have patience, flexibility, time and energy
Information about becoming a foster carer with Northamptonshire County Council is available at www.fosterme.co.uk.