May 21 2013 Latest news:
by Paul Harper
Monday, June 25, 2012
A caring couple who have fostered 150 children, often in emergency situations, have been awarded MBEs.
During a remarkable 31-year period Doreen and Jimmy Batchelor, of Essex Road, Islington, have cared for dozens of youngsters.
Some have been rescued from their homes by police and others became homeless after a parent died.
Doreen, 70, who became a foster carer after childminding, said: “We have had children arrive at midnight with no clothes packed, which can be very sad. We once took on a little one-year-old Turkish girl who found her mum dead and was calling after her for weeks.”
The couple take the children to Canvey Island regularly and give them round-the-clock care.
Doreen said: “The best thing is seeing them arrive unsettled and then later it is like they have always lived here.” Mr Batchelor, 70, a coach driver, said: “You do get attached and it pulls on the heart strings when they leave but it is comforting knowing that they are going to a happy environment.
“It has been an experience. We plan to continue fostering until we are too old, which may be another 20 years yet!”
The couple lived in Mitchison Road, Islington, before moving to their current five-bed house.
Mr Batchelor said: “It is brilliant. I never would have expected this.”
They also celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year and have two children, Zak, 44, Eddie, 50, and adopted son Dean, 30.
Now an actor, Dean arrived aged two months from Glasgow. He said: “So many came here with a tough past and it is incredible to hear they are now looking after themselves with good jobs and families of their own.
“I feel privileged they are my parents.”