Foster carers honoured at awards ceremony

Angela Macpherson
Angela Macpherson

A foster carer who has looked after nearly 50 children has been recognised at an awards ceremony.

Penny Johnson, 45, from Aylesbury was among twenty carers recognised for their hard work and dedication by Bucks County Council at a special awards ceremony.

It took place at Green Park Conference Centre during this year’s National Foster Care Fortnight, and the evening saw many foster carers given long service awards for five, ten, fifteen and twenty-five years.

Penny and her husband Phil, 53, decided to become foster carers fifteen years ago, believing they were unable to have any children of their own.

She said: “We decided to go for it, after hearing an advert on the radio.

“The process took around eight months and our first foster child was placed with us fairly soon after.”

Since then, the couple have fostered more than 45 children ranging from 10 hours old to 18 years old.

They have also successfully adopted two of their foster children Sheila, now 18, and Karnell, now 10, and are currently in the process of adopting a third child. Penny said: “I feel very proud and excited to have received this award.

“If my experience and fight with cancer has taught me anything - it’s to not waste any time, which is why I am telling people who may be thinking about fostering - don’t wait for the moment just go for it now!”

Beverley Blackstock (10 years), Louisa James (15 years) and Elaine and Philip Sturman (10 years) were the other foster carers from Aylesbury that received long service awards at the ceremony.

Awards during the evening were presented by Angela Macpherson, Bucks County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services.

She said: “It was a fantastic evening and a real honour to be able to present the awards to so many of our deserving foster carers.

“It was genuinely moving to hear about their dedication to looking after some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the county.

“By the end of the night I think most people had shed a few tears.

“We are always keen to hear from anyone interested in becoming foster carers.

“You really can make a difference to the life of a child or young person and we will provide you with all the training and support you need.”