A long-serving East Riding foster carer has received the MBE in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Helen Rawdon, who received the honour for services to fostering in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She was presented with the medal by the Prince of Wales.
Helen, who lives in Beverley, is a foster carer with East Riding of Yorkshire Council. She began working as a foster carer in 1989. Since then she has provided care and support for more than 150 children and young people.
With the help and support of her family – husband, Paul, and three children – she fosters babies and children and offers supported lodging placements to a range of vulnerable young adults, including care leavers.
Helen, who was accompanied by Paul and her parents, said she had been nervous before the medal presentation ceremony. But she said the recipients were put at ease by the Palace officials and by Prince Charles, who thanked her for all the work she did with children and young people.
“It was a lovely day – everything was very calming so that you didn’t get nervous, you could enjoy it. Prince Charles congratulated me and asked me if my husband was getting a medal as well – he said he recognised that fostering was something that families do together.
“I told him that we get really good support from social services in the East Riding and he said ‘thank you for everything you do’.”
Councillor Julie Abraham, the council’s portfolio holder for children, young people and education, said: “All our foster carers are very special people and we owe a debt of gratitude to people like Helen, who have provided care and support to so many young people in the East Riding. I am delighted that her work has been recognised with this award.”
Bridget Bennett, a senior manager in the council’s children’s services, has also received her MBE medal from Prince Charles.
Bridget has worked as a social worker in front-line practice since 1977 and has worked in the East Riding since 1999, having previously managed a family centre in York.
She said she was very humbled to receive the MBE, but hoped it would raise the profile of children’s services in the East Riding.