A Croydon couple who have cared for approximately 200 children over 43 years of fostering have been awarded an MBE* in the Queen’s birthday honours.
Brenda and Gordon Potter have fostered for Croydon Council since 1989. Brenda had trained as a nanny, and the couple already had four children of their own, when they responded to an advert to foster new babies who were awaiting adoption.
Brenda explained: “We looked after several new babies from hospital, and found that we were quite good – if I can say that! – not only at looking after babies but children of all ages, including those with emotional baggage, special needs or disabilities. We just loved all of it.
“We are fortunate to have the room to be able to offer children a home, including sibling groups, and during night duty – it’s never been any bother, and we can have the bed made up within seconds for any child that needs it.
“It is very traumatic for a child being separated from their family, in any circumstances – and just being there for them, watching them become settled and happy, and blossom – I find it very rewarding.”
The couple, who live in Ross Road, Wallington, have also adopted three children.
They received a long service award from Croydon Council at their annual foster care awards earlier this year. They were ‘absolutely delighted’ to find themselves on the New Year’s Honours list.
Brenda said: “What more of a reward can you get, for something you love doing?” And they plan to continue fostering for the foreseeable future. Brenda added: “If we seem to be doing well, then why stop?”
“I am so pleased that Brenda and Gordon are getting this very well-deserved recognition for everything they have done, for so many children in Croydon. Many congratulations to them both.
“They have made a real difference to so many young lives, giving their time and their care to around 200 children who for whatever reason, cannot stay with their own family.
“They have supported them through trauma, providing them with a safe space and a loving home. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
For more information on fostering visit www.croydon.gov.uk/fostering
*Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) is awarded for ‘an outstanding achievement or service to the community’ which ‘will have had a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others.’