A foster carer who dedicated her life to bringing up more than 400 children has received a special award.
Chris Hester, 68, retired in November last year having fostered children since 1971.
She passed on her final child and jetted off to Cyprus - her first proper holiday in 43 years.
But mum-of-two Chris, who lives in Glebe Drive, Brackley, has now received a special award at Northants County Council’s foster and Family Link Carers Awards.
She was honoured for her 27 years of service for the council and received an engraved glass paperweight which now proudly sits on a glass cabinet in her lounge.
The message read ‘for so much love, given to so many children’.
The event took place at the Marriott Hotel in Northampton and saw carers awarded certificates, vouchers and flowers.
But Chris, who fostered four children while going through chemotherapy in her 40s, was the star of the night and received her award at the end.
She said: “It was a really nice evening and there was a lovely girl singing, who is being fostered at the moment.
“If you love children and you’ve got their interests at heart, it’s very rewarding.
“The attachment thing is important, they need it and yes, it can be hard when they go.
“But if it’s done properly, you work with the new person. It’s sad to see them go but we have to do what is best for the child.
“It’s really worthwhile to see them grow up and help them to do things they would never had the chance to do.”
Carer Paul Ross from Towcester was also among those recognised for outstanding service for the county council.
Heather Smith, county council deputy leader and cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Our annual awards ceremony is a fantastic occasion.
“These carers play a vital role in supporting children and young people who are going through a difficult time in their lives.
“So we want them to know that their commitment and dedication does not go unnoticed.
“We also hope that our carers will act as ambassadors and help us to recruit more foster carers by spreading the word about the rewards that come with offering a loving home to a child in need.”
Information about becoming a foster or family link carer is available at www.fosterme.co.uk