Page last updated at 02:21 GMT, Thursday, 31 December 2009

Surrey couple who fostered hundreds become MBEs

Penelope and Ronald Jones
Penelope and Ronald Jones have cared for hundreds of foster children

A husband and wife who have fostered hundreds of children in Surrey have both been appointed MBEs.

Penelope Jones, 64, said she and her husband Ronald, 81, try to stay in touch with all their foster children and now had a huge extended family.

The pair, from Sunbury-on-Thames, said they treated all their foster children in the same way as they treated their own six children.

Mrs Jones said: "We do it because we find it rewarding."

She added: "Helping other people is rewarding, and I treat them how I would like to be treated if I was in that situation."

We open our hearts to all the children
Penelope Jones

Mrs Jones became a foster mother after working with juveniles in the prison service and was always supported in her work by her husband.

She said she talked to a social worker about one of the 16-year-old boys she knew and remarked on how she felt he was always in trouble but only needed caring for.

She added: "They said we've got just the child for you."

Her work with the teenager led to the couple caring for other youngsters in need over three decades.

'Needing love'

"If I wasn't being called out to a police station, I was patching him up in casualty," she said.

"That was in December 1970. Then a few years later we said we could do with another placement.

"I just like to be able to help people."

Mrs Jones said the children she took in needed to be loved and made to feel special.

She said: "We open our hearts to all the children. Anybody that comes to us we will do whatever we can do to help them with whatever they need."

She added: "There must have been hundreds of children. I try to stay in touch with them. Some have been adopted. I send them birthday cards - it's a very extended family."

Mr and Mrs Jones have been appointed MBEs for services to children and families.

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