Stella Tomkinson, 80, from Nuneaton who looked after more than 100 children in 50 years has been awarded an MBE for services to foster care.
Stella and her husband Bill, decided to become foster carers in the 1960s after discovering they could not have children. The couple adopted a five-week-old baby girl in 1962 and then put their names down to adopt further children – only to be asked to foster a little girl with health problems instead. That prompted the couple to foster more children, including several with disabilities.
Stella also worked for a number of years as a senior foster carer supporting and mentoring other foster carers and supervising contact. Her assessments provided considerable support for the child care planning process.
Sadly, Mrs Tomkinson stopped fostering two years ago, after her husband’s death in 2009. However, she has set up a weekly support group for parents of children with disabilities through Nuneaton and Bedworth’s Mencap Society.
She now has six adopted children, 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
“I’m proud of all the children I’ve looked after,” she said. “Many people find Christmas a lonely time and if I hadn’t had all these children, I would probably have been lonely too. I have been really lucky watching all these children grow up. I can honestly say that if I lived my life again, I would do exactly the same thing.”
Warwickshire County Council Councillor Jeff Morgan and Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services said: “We are so fortunate to have had Stella fostering for Warwickshire over the years and providing such a huge amount of love and care for these young people. We do still however, need more foster carers like Stella to give our young people in care a stable family home, so I urge anyone interested in fostering to find out more.”
For more information about Fostering for Warwickshire, please text ‘CHILD’ to 62266, visit the Facebook page (Warwickshire-County-Council-Fostering) or register your interest online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fostering