An inspirational couple who have fostered more than 600 children over an incredible 56-years hope to inspire more people to considering fostering in West Sussex.
Pauline and Roger Fitter began their fostering career in 1965. They say their philosophy is to ‘welcome children warmly, let them be themselves and have patience.
Pauline and Roger added: "Don't take the knocks personally, they may be aimed at you, but only because the children know it's safe to do so."
The first child placed in their care was a new-born baby boy who had bronchitis. Pauline and Roger nursed the baby at home in a handmade steam tent and cared for the child until he went on to be adopted.
So began their phenomenal career fostering children which has seen them well known as carers who show exceptional skill, patience and warmth and go above and beyond for children in their care.
The pair have recently retired and to commemorate their huge commitment to fostering for West Sussex County Council a celebratory tea was held at County Hall in Chichester.
The couple, who live in Camelsdale in West Sussex also adopted a child they had previously fostered and they are now proud grandparents to 11 children.
Pauline was originally a children’s nurse but decided to become a foster carer when she and Roger got married in 1965. Pauline founded and ran Camelsdale Nursery School for many years and was also a girl guide leader. Roger continues to work part time as a well-respected forestry consultant.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Pauline and Roger’s commitment to children is quite extraordinary. Their love and dedication has changed the lives of many hundreds of children, we can’t thank them enough for 56 years of love and devotion.
“We are very lucky to have wonderful people fostering with West Sussex County Council but the need for more is huge. So if Pauline and Roger’s story has inspired you, please give our fostering team a call.”
West Sussex County Council said: "We are looking for new and experienced foster carers. No previous experience is needed, just a desire to help a child to have a better future. Our carers do need to have a spare room but don't need to own their own home.
"Call 033 022 27775 to speak to our friendly team or find out more and register your interest at www.westsussex.gov.uk/
West Sussex County Council provides full training, ongoing support and a new and enhanced financial allowances package. Extra support is given to new carers during their first year of fostering and they become part of the largest network of foster carers in West Sussex.