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than 200 children!❞

planned, Jim – thinking in more practical terms – agreed to keep her on condition Jean didn’t ask to keep any more foster children. As soon as she promised, his response was: “All right then…” Incredibly, they continued fostering at their Borehamwood council home in Hertfordshire and Jean reckons she’s probably changed literally hundreds of thousands of nappies. “I had my routine and Jim always helped me. We had three sets of twins – including a pair given at six weeks old. He’d feed one at night; I fed the other.” Proudly, Jim escorted Jean to Buckingham Palace in 1995

when she received the MBE for her services to children. After his death, she fostered another 21 babies alone. But admitted to hospital for an emergency hernia operation in March 2010, her last was placed in a new home and she didn’t want to unsettle him again. “After nearly 52 years of fostering, I hate being without babies and can’t bear to sort out the spare room, which is still full of cot, pram and baby clothes,” she admits. “It is so quiet. “I’m fortunate I’ve always had good babies who’ve slept through by seven or eight weeks,” she adds. “Children just need lots of love and patience. I have never

smacked any of the children – or needed to. I’ve always found talking is enough. My own mum was very placid, patient and loving. I must get it from her.” More than 200 children have reason to be grateful for that. Several keep in touch and one even gave her daughter the name Jean in her honour. And Natasha – now a 33-yearold mum-of-two herself – said: “She’s always been there for me and she never treated any of her children any differently, adopted or not. We’re a close family with a strong bond. My children, Carl (12) and Jade (9) idolise her. She’s been a fantastic mum and still is.” YOURS

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‘I could never say no and turn a child away’

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