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Foster couple’s hopes for the future after birthday-honours recognition

Harry and Christine Burditt who have been awarded the MBE for services to children and families

Harry and Christine Burditt who have been awarded the MBE for services to children and families

A Sheffield couple have been hailed as “fantastic ambassadors” for the local fostering service after being awarded MBEs in the Queen’s birthday’s honours.

Chris and Harry Burditt, both aged 71, have fostered more than 80 children and young people over 30 years.

Now the council hopes their example will encourage others to consider fostering - and the Burditts, too, say people should think about it.

They were nominated for the honour by the authority’s fostering service for their ‘selfless and unwavering’ support for some of Sheffield’s most vulnerable children and young people.

With four children, five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren of their own, the couple, who live in Wincobank, said they were “proud but shocked’ be the news

Chris said: “We found out about our MBEs a month ago when our letters from ‘Her Majesty’s Service’ dropped on the doormat and we thought someone was joking. I was so convinced it wasn’t genuine I was more bothered about our gas bill which arrived at the same time!

“But now the news has settled in we are incredibly pleased. It’s a great honour and we’re proud. Our children are over the moon about it and are very proud of us too.”

Chris added: “I would encourage anyone to be a foster carer but I’d say you have to really want to do it. It’s certainly not a nine to five job, its 24/7 and you need a lot of patience, a sense of humour and know how to be firm but fair.

“But you also have to be willing to invest time in the children and we’ve always played cards, board games, read books, helped them with their homework and we go for walks. We have to mould them into decent citizens and show them what they can get out of life if they follow the right path. It’s been a pleasure.”

Sheffield’s fostering and adoption service currently has 290 households looking after more than 280 children.

Most people can be a foster carer, whether they are single, divorced, widowed, retired, unemployed or working. The level of care can vary from offering short breaks or temporary care to providing a permanent home.

Cabinet member Coun Jackie Drayton said: “Being a foster carer is about more than just providing a child with a roof over their head, it’s about helping them to grow up happy, healthy and with the confidence to reach their full potential, in a loving home. Chris and Harry have done exactly this for 30 years and are a true inspiration and fantastic ambassadors for the Sheffield Fostering Service.

“I really hope their example will encourage many other people to find out how they can become foster carers in Sheffield too and make a real difference to children.”

The fostering service’s next information evening will be at the Quaker Meeting House in St James Street, near the Anglican Cathedral, on Wednesday July 2, 5.45pm to 8pm.

- Tel 2735075; email fostering@sheffield.gov.uk.

 

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