Bristol fostering couple 'proud' of MBE award

A couple who fostered more than 150 children over three decades have been appointed MBEs in the New Year Honours.

Clive and Sharon Cumming, from Bristol, have raised the children alongside their own since 1975.

The pair, who are both in their 60s and currently have three fostered teenagers with them, are great-grandparents.

Mrs Cumming said her family were impressed: "I told my nine-year-old granddaughter what we have got and she went 'Wow, the Queen!'"

Mrs Cumming, 63, said that she and her 68-year-old husband were enjoying their new status: "The children we have with us now, I am making them bow to us."

'Children need us'

The couple began caring for vulnerable children after seeing a television programme about the subject.

Mrs Cumming said they saw a child on the screen and thought: "We could love him and look after him, that would be wonderful.

"There seems to be a lot of children out there that need us - shall we go for that? And that's what we did."

Their first child was a 13-year-old girl who would eat only what she needed at dinner time before offering the rest to the other youngsters, something she had done at her children's home.

But the Cummings helped teach her a new routine and have never looked back.

"We love it, it keeps us young and gives us something to get up for in the morning," Mrs Cumming added.

"Fostering does tend to keep you young," Mr Cumming added.

"You don't seem to go through the normal aging process but I do get a bit grumpy at times.

"With teenagers you seem to learn a lot and I seem to speak sometimes in 'street talk' just to keep up with them!"

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