MBE honours for foster couple

Coun John Jones

Coun John Jones

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A couple who have fostered more than 200 children will receive MBEs at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

Harold and Christine Gregoire got into fostering after they started childminding 30 years ago, and have taken in scores of Blackpool youngsters along the way.

Harold, 63, a Heysham Power Station worker, said: “We’re still pinching ourselves, this just doesn’t happen to everyone.”

The couple who live in Hest Bank, near Lancaster, have five children of their own and can have an additional four foster children living with them at any one time, from the ages of four days to 12 years.

“It’s a very, very full household”, said Harold, who was a well-known DJ at Blackpool’s Imperial Hotel.

“It can be emotional because when children go through the process of adoption, some prospective parents can turn round and say no at the last minute.

“We go through that with the children and feel it with them. Some of the children build a wall and that’s hard too. There’s lots of psychology involved.

“But the reward is seeing the children happy. They come from dysfunctional homes and go somewhere where they will never want.”

Placements with the Gregoire’s are often short-term, but can last much longer, depending on a child’s situation and needs.

The couple remain in touch with many of the children they have fostered, and say they still have no idea who nominated them for the award.

Coun John Jones, (pictured) cabinet member with responsibility for Children’s Services, said: “We are so grateful to the Gregoires for fostering Blackpool children, and wish to thank and congratulate them on the MBE.

“The love and care from foster carers makes an extraordinary difference to the lives of so many children that it is right they are recognised for their contribution to society.

“While we value all our foster carers it is great to see someone who has offered so much over so many years has been recognised nationally.”