A foster carer from Brackley rubbed shoulders with the country’s unsung heroines during a glitzy lunch at London’s Park Lane Hotel this week.
Chris Hester has fostered more then 400 children over 41 years and on Monday she accepted an invite to the Women of the Year Lunch.
Mrs Hester sat next to members of the Military Wives Choir during the event hosted by Sandi Toksvig. She watched as awards were presented to the Team GB Olympic and Paralympic women medalists, Iraqi-American women’s rights activist Zainab Salbi, crime writer and life peer P.D. James, Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered teen Stephen Lawrence and Kate Woolveridge, recognised for her work promoting awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Mrs Hester said: “I just feel honoured, it was such a big thing, and there were lots of women there with fantastic stories, and to be part of that was unbelievable.”
Mrs Hester said while the lunch was enjoyable, the accolade was just the cherry on top of her experience transforming the prospects of vulnerable children. She added: “People are keen to recognise what I’ve done, but I just love doing what I do. When the children come to me, quite often they have nothing apart from what they are standing in. Any its just nice to see them blossom and become happy children.”
Earlier this year, Mrs Hester was one of three Northants foster carers chosen to carry the Olympic Torch through the county in recognition of her fostering work.
Andrew Grant, Northants County Council’s member for children said: “We are hugely indebted to Chris and to others like her who provide a safety net for vulnerable children and young people.
“She truly is a woman of the year, every year.”
The Women of the Year Foundation was established in 2001 with the aim of celebrating the achievements of women and their contribution to society and is funded by donations.