A fostering couple from Dunstable who won a Gold Award at the BBC Three Counties People Awards have been called ‘angels’ by a man who used to be in their care.
Sandra and Tim Thorne have looked after teenagers and large sibling groups for 32 years, ensuring brothers and sisters stay together, and they were honoured for their service at an awards bash at The Grove Theatre, winning the Foster Care award after being nominated by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Fostering and Adoption Team.
Ryan Steedman gave a glowing account of the husband and wife that welcomed him into their family, and he still visits them regularly and keeps them up-to-date on his progress as a professional hairdresser in London.
He said: “I feel it is important to recognise how much they changed my life.
“I think it’s extremely important to stress what these two people do isn’t seen as a job for them, it is their life.
“They show kids hope, love and a passion for life.
“I couldn’t think of two people more qualified to win this award. I wouldn’t call them simply foster carers, I would call them both angels. If everyone were more like Sandra and Tim, the world would be a much kinder and more magical place.”
Mrs Thorne said: “We were very surprised to get the award and collected it on behalf of all foster carers.
“We had a lovely time and was really nice to see the other award winners.
“They are the silent volunteers who do amazing things, like the lady who takes youngsters off the street back to her own home, gives them a bed and meal for the night, breakfast in the morning and then points them in the right direction.”
Cllr Steve Dixon said: “All foster carers do an exceptional, vocational job, but to have done so for as long as Mr and Mrs Thorne is truly remarkable. They thoroughly deserve this award.
“I can’t thank them enough for the work they do in looking after young people and making a positive impact on their lives.
“I hope the Thorne’s story can help inspire more people to come forward and become foster carers, because we’re always interested in speaking to people interested in making that step.
“I’d urge anyone that has considered this to get in contact with our Fostering and Adoption Team by calling 0300 300 8181.”