A COUPLE who have devoted more than 50 years of their lives to fostering have been recognised with an MBE.
Brian and Jillian Jones were named in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours and will be presented with the accolade later this year.
The pair, who live in Church Hill, have cared for more than 50 youngsters including babies, teenagers and siblings, as part of Worcestershire County Council’s children’s services.
Mrs Jones, 64, began looking after children 28 years ago and was joined by her 66-year-old husband in 1992.
The extraordinary duo have since gone on to help young people who have complex and challenging needs and have always been prepared to go that extra mile.
This includes supporting parent and baby placements, working with children with disabilities or those who have experienced abuse and neglect, as well as working directly with birth parents by inviting them into their home.
They are also ambassadors for the service, helping with recruitment, development and training, while Brian also sits as a foster carer representative on a Dudley fostering panel.
Mrs Jones said they felt extremely honoured and humbled to receive the award but they could not take all the credit.
“It is a whole team effort. The support we receive from social services is fantastic, and this award is for them and all the foster carers out there.” she said.
“We are just an ordinary couple, with such wonderful memories. Every child gives us another memory and it is the most rewarding thing. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life.”
Mr Jones added: “If we could go through life again, we wouldn’t change a thing.
“Things like this don’t happen to ordinary people like us, and it is lovely to be recognised for it.
“For everything we have done, we have been given ten-fold back and that would have been more than enough for us.”