09:11AM, Friday 15 February 2013
A carer who has fostered for more than 130 children and young people over nearly 40 years is urging other people to take on the role.
Brian Webb has launched a public appeal for new recruits as the Royal Borough launches its own Foster Carers Charter.
The document underlines their central role in turning children's lives around.
Brian and his wife Shirley, from Sawyers Crescent, Woodlands Park, have looked after teenagers down to babies just six hours old.
The former Thames lock-keeper has always had an interest in looking after children.
"I’m from a big family where I was the middle child of seven," he said.
"I was brought up in South Lambeth, which is a pretty rough area of London and there were children down our street who would have been in the care system today."
The father-of-four, whose children are also foster carers, was awarded an MBE in 2001 for his foster work and services to the water industry.
Brian now works providing support and advice for other fosterer families, which he will continue to do as he and Shirley start planning their retirement from hands-on care.
"Fostering takes away a lot of your life but it gives you something back that is a lot greater," he added.
"You connect with these children for the rest of their childhood and maybe even for the rest of their lives.
"We have an enormous Christmas card list."
Foster carers and councillors gathered at Maidenhead Town Hall on Wednesday to mark the signing of the charter.
It promotes the council’s commitment to support and consult with foster carers, to ensure that children come first and to recruit more carers so children can be placed with families in the borough.
Cllr Phill Bicknell, cabinet member for children’s services, said: "I am humbled by what our foster carers achieve for the children they take into their homes.
"They help us turn a child’s life around and deserve their own charter that recognises their huge contribution to ensuring that children get the best possible support and care within warm and welcoming families."
Brian said: "It will give a lot more support for the kids, and that's what it's all about.
"You don't have to be clever or really well educated to be a fosterer.
"If you have the right stuff in your heart you can offer a child a child a caring environment."
Paramedics were called to the scene of a medical emergency in Maidenhead on Monday morning (June 27).
A teenager who died after getting into difficulty in the Jubilee River has been described as a ‘gentle giant’ in a tribute from his school.