Northumberland foster carers’ date with the Queen

The visit of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to Alnwick. The Duchess of Northumberland, Her Majesty, Alan Shearer and Prince Philip at the Grand Cascade.
The visit of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to Alnwick. The Duchess of Northumberland, Her Majesty, Alan Shearer and Prince Philip at the Grand Cascade.

Eight foster carers were invited to personally meet The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at the Duchess of Northumberland’s special party in Alnwick last week.

The lucky eight foster carers, who have fostered around 450 children and young people in their time as foster carers for Northumberland County Council, were Philippa Gibb-Kirk from Alnwick, Joy and Zara Garrett – mother and daughter - from Blyth Valley, Miriam Keith from Tyne and Wear, Pat Durie from Berwickshire, Aniko and Reuben Murray - husband and wife - from Wansbeck, and Maureen Brown from Blyth Valley.

The group was overjoyed with the experience.

Foster carer Philippa said: “Considering I only spent about thirty seconds with the Queen, it was incredible how the excitement lasted the whole day, it is an experience I will never forget and my Mum was really proud. I have always enjoyed being a carer and working with some great children, but it was lovely to have that recognised in such a way.”

A total of 80 Northumberland foster carers and members from the children in care council (Voices Making Choices - VMC) attended the party, which was held to recognise the work of the county’s carers and volunteers.

Following the Lord Lieutenant, The Duchess of Northumberland, said: ‘It was a wonderful day which couldn’t have gone better. The carers and volunteers work and dedication was greatly appreciated and recognised by Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, and I hope they realise how highly their contribution to Northumberland is valued. There was a real feeling of celebration in the town of Alnwick and it was great to see so many thousands of people waving flags and cheering.”

Paula Gibbons, joint fostering service manager for Northumberland and North Tyneside, said: “We are thrilled that our foster carers and children in care council have received such a prestigious acknowledgement from the Queen and the Duchess of Northumberland. It underlines the high regard that the local authorities have for the valuable contributions of both our foster carers and the children in care council and helps to highlight what local people can do to help children and young people in their communities.”