A Preston couple who have fostered hundreds of children were recently invited to the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
George, 75, and Jos, 74, Hindle attended the annual event which saw special guests enjoying tea on the lawns of the monarch’s famous residence.
The couple were invited to the party after fostering a total of 241 children since they started fostering for Lancashire County Council in 1979.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted the event, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended along with other members of the Royal Family, such as the Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal, Princess Beatrice, Duke of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
George Hindle said: “It was a brilliant day and it felt like such an honour to be invited.
“We first went through to a grand room at Buckingham Palace before going out into the massive gardens where there were marquees set up.
“Everyone was in their finery and the Royal Family came out onto the steps and the national anthem was played then they did a walk about.
“We met lots of interesting people including from the armed forces and it was a really good atmosphere with excellent food and a brass band playing.
“It was a lovely experience and we made a short break of it by staying in London for a couple of days with our two sons and their wives.”
After fostering for the county council for 37 years, the couple retired last year.
They were put forward for recognition by the fostering team after their years of dedicated service, and the Chairman of the council formally requested an invitation for them to the garden party.
Jos said: “We’ve looked after all age groups from babies to teenagers, for anything from a couple of days until they have grown up.
“We’ve even extended our family by adopting five children over the years, and we consider them all an equal part of our family.
“I’ve loved every minute and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Barbara Bath, Head of Fostering and Adoption at Lancashire County Council said:
“Jos and George have dedicated their lives to providing a nurturing and stable home environment for children, whilst plans were being made for their futures.
“I felt that their extraordinary commitment and understanding towards children in the care system in Lancashire deserved special recognition.
“Even though they have retired from fostering, they are continuing to support the two teenage siblings who are living with them for as long as they wish to.
“The effort they have made to encourage their health, education and social skills has helped these young people reach their potential and both are now going to university.
“This shows Jos and George’s genuine desire to get the best outcomes for children and young people and their wish to fully include them in their family life.”
Lancashire County Council is currently recruiting new foster carers to look after around 20 children a week who come into their care and a package of support is available 24/7 to help foster carers in their role, including a generous allowance, local support groups, their own social worker, a dedicated helpline and flexible training.
Anyone interested in finding out more about fostering is encouraged to contact the county council’s friendly team on 0300 123 6723 or visit the website.