A local Kingsbury woman has been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours after fostering children for over 30 years.
Retiree Patrice Thomas was awarded an MBE for Services to Children and Families on New Year's Day along with many other west Londoners.
Speaking in the Brent Council Magazine, Patrice said: “I used to babysit a lot for friends and others in the community, but it was a teacher at my daughter's school who suggested I would be a good foster parent.
“I then saw the Brent advert calling for more foster carers, called them up for more information and it went from there.
“31 years and 155 children later, I honestly feel blessed to have been able to help so many children and to still be foster caring today.”
During her time as a foster carer, Patrice has looked after many children who have arrived in Brent on their own, often after fleeing trouble abroad.
She has also taken in children whose parents had problems such as alcohol or drug addiction and domestic violence.
'The foster children become part of your family'
“These children are children in need. They need care and a safe place to live and there is no better way to help than to be a foster parent and provide the home and the care that they need.
“Anyone can do it, you just need to be understanding and tolerant and have empathy, sympathy and patience.
“It is an incredibly rewarding experience, the foster children become part of your family.”
Speaking of the MBE, leader of Brent Council Muhammed Butt said: “I’m thrilled that Patrice is being honoured, after fostering Brent children for over 30 years.
“She’s an inspiration, and has cared for generations of children over that time.
“Patrice and all our other foster carers do such a great job providing care to children and young people who need it the most.”