Hertfordshire foster carers honoured with MBEs

Published: 13 Dec 2017

A foster carer couple from Hoddesdon, Tim and Louise Walkiden, who have been fostering for 26 years, were made MBEs (Member of the British Empire) for "services to children and families" in a glittering ceremony at Buckingham Palace yesterday.

Over this period, they have cared for over 32 babies aged up to 18 months old.

Mr. Walkiden, 59, a market trader, said, “We began fostering in 1991, two years after our son was born and we have never looked back. We care for the babies who come to us, love them and become attached to them and them to us. Each child typically spends between six months and a year with us. They then move on to the next stage of their life. It's hard to let them go, but you can see they will have a really good life. Together with social workers who support us, we all work as a team for these children”.

“In the past several years, we have had placements of all kinds, in terms of the needs of the children and the time they have spent with us. You learn so much with every child who becomes a part of your family for a while. It gives you so much personal satisfaction. It’s a real honour to look after a child and to see that child move on to a better life or go back to their parents. The MBE was unexpected and we are thrilled and humbled to have been chosen.”

Mr. Walkiden paid tribute to their son Sam, 28, who has supported them as foster carers. The Walkidens often keep in touch with the children and their families, many of whom are now in their late teens or early twenties and leading successful lives.

Teresa Heritage, Cabinet member for Children’s Services said: "We are delighted that Tim and Louise have been made MBEs, it is so well deserved. We are grateful to both of them for the wonderful work that they have done in the past nearly three decades, making a difference to the lives of 32 children in Hertfordshire. Each child has been given love and guidance and as a result of their actions several of these have gone on to become well-rounded, successful young adults”.

“Fostering isn’t easy, but it’s truly rewarding and can make a huge difference to the lives of children in care. If there are any of our residents who can offer a comfortable, safe and loving home, we would love to hear from them.”

Currently in Hertfordshire, foster carers are particularly needed for sibling groups, older children and teenagers.   Anyone who fosters with Hertfordshire County Council can expect unrivalled support.  If you are interested in fostering with Hertfordshire, staff and other foster carers will be there to guide you through the process, every step of the way. For more information visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/somethingmissing