The widower of adopted actress Lynda Bellingham OBE has released a photo of his wife in her teenage years as part of a Barnardo’s campaign to recruit more foster carers.
Long-term Barnardo’s supporter Lynda grew up in Aston Abbots with adoptive parents Donald and Ruth Bellingham and was a student at Aylesbury High School.
The actress passed away on October 19 last year following a long battle with bowel cancer.
Now her husband Michael Pattemore, who was fostered as a child, explains the family’s involvement with this week’s Barnado’s National Fostering and Adoption Week.
He said: “Lynda was a passionate Barnardo’s Ambassador. She was adopted as a child and was hugely supportive of Barnardo’s work in fostering and adoption.
“We know that she would have wanted to lend her support to National Fostering and Adoption week as she knew the work foster carers do is invaluable and that there is a desperate need for more foster carers.
“They offer vulnerable children and young people a stable, safe and caring home, sometimes for the first time in their lives.
“When we used to discuss what would make a good foster carer, we realised that you should never underestimate the power of a hug.”
Michael reveals that Lynda’s motto was always ‘live life to the full’ and he firmly believes this is the best advice you could give any young person.
Barnardo’s is looking to recruit 500 foster carers this year to help address a shortfall of 8,600 carers nationally, with 925 needed in the South East.
The charity is asking members of the public to consider becoming foster carers and help create happy childhood memories for some of the most vulnerable children in the UK.
Barnardo’s is urging people to tweet their favourite teen photo and best advice received using #WhyFoster to support @barnardos Fostering and Adoption Week.
Barnardo’s CEO Javed Khan says: “Most of us can remember the advice and support we received from our family growing up.
“Without the right foster family to care for them, many vulnerable children may never experience the kind of love and stability we take for granted.
“Currently a third of all children in foster care are moved between different families more than twice every year due to the lack of suitable foster carers.
“The number of children in the care system in the UK has risen for the 7th year in a row to more than 90,000 and at least 8,600 new foster carers are needed in the UK.
“It is a critical situation and Barnardo’s is looking for people with patience and commitment to provide a stable home for the most vulnerable children in the UK.
“Fostering is a caring career and I would encourage those who feel they have a lot of love to give to get in touch.”
Barnardo’s is particularly keen to speak to individuals from the BME and LGBT communities who are interested in fostering.
There is no upper age limit, although there is a minimum age of 21. Barnardo’s does not exclude anyone from consideration on the grounds of marital status, gender, sexual orientation, disability or employment status.
To find out more, visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fostering or call 08000 277 280.