Lancashire

New Year Honours: Blackpool couple honoured for 20 years of fostering

Carl and Diane Mitchell Image copyright Carl Mitchell
Image caption The couple said fostering had been "challenging" but they have been "very well supported"

A couple who have fostered more than 90 children across 20 years have been appointed MBEs after being nominated by three young people they helped.

Carl and Diane Mitchell, from Blackpool, began caring for vulnerable children when their own sons, now aged 24 and 25, were young.

They said it had been "challenging" but they had been "very well supported".

They want to use the honour to promote the benefits of fostering and help more young people in the town, they added.

Mr Mitchell told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he and his wife were "thrilled" by the appointment, adding that to be nominated by children they have looked after was "magical".

The couple initially looked after young children, but have more recently cared for teenagers and currently act as emergency fosterers for families in crisis.

The former ice skater said their success was based on each child they welcomed into their home being encouraged "to find something they are good at and then suddenly it all falls into place".

Mrs Mitchell, who delivers training to social workers on the daily lives of foster parents, said they had "treated every child as their own".

Mr Mitchell added that they felt their own sons had "greatly benefitted from our fostering".

"So to people who are nervous about it, or worry about the effect on their own children, I would say it has only been positive," he said.