A couple who have cared for more than 200 children over 48 years have decided to retire from fostering.
Norm and Tricia Marsland, who live in a village near Melton, are keen to encourage other families from the area to take over their foster duties.
In total, the couple have helped care for 211 children, including a number of sibling pairs, a parent and child placed together, teenagers and young children with serious medical conditions.
Tricia said: “I love children and I knew, through raising my own children and looking after those we cared for, this was what our life was meant to be.
“It was just a good thing to do, we didn’t look at the money angle, it wasn’t part of our thoughts at all.
“We just wanted to be able to help caring for somebody else’s child as much and for as long as we were needed.
“It gave us great satisfaction knowing we were a part of helping them have a better life. It gives a great sense of achievement.”
Their phenomenal service was celebrated at a small informal ceremony at County Hall, which has placed children with them for over almost half-a-century.
Councillor Ivan Ould, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Tricia and Norm are wonderful examples of what fostering is all about.
“We want to say a massive thank you from all the children they’ve supported on behalf of the service.
“They have touched the lives of hundreds of children and young people, and will be sorely missed.”
Foster carers in the Melton area and across Leicestershire have benefited from an increase in the amount they receive in fees since last month.
There are currently more than 550 children in care in Leicestershire and this is forecast to increase to more than 750 by March 2022. It costs an additional £12,500 per child per annum when the council uses a fostering agency.
The increase in fees is costing the council more than £160,000 but this is part of its wider plans to save £3million by recruiting more of its own foster carers, and ensuring that children in care can remain in the county.
The council runs monthly information evenings at their Glenfield headquarters for people interested in becoming foster parents. The next events, from 6.30pm to 8pm, are on September 27, October 17 and November 6. Call 0116 305 0505 for more details.