A couple who have spent 18 years as dedicated foster carers have been recognised for their efforts by the Queen.
Jean and Edward Davenport, from Leigh, have been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours.
I really can’t believe it, it’s surrealJean Davenport
They will receive the prestigious title for “services to children and families” due to their work as foster carers.
Mrs Davenport, 66, said: “I really can’t believe it, it’s surreal.”
The Davenports, who have five daughters and 11 grandchildren, decided to become foster carers in 1998 while living in Trafford.
Mrs Davenport said: “It was something we always wanted to do, me particularly.
“One of our girls made an appointment with the borough for us to go to an open evening.”
Over the years, they have cared for many children of different ages and nationalities, sometimes individuals and other times siblings.
Some of the children have complex behavioural issues and come from difficult backgrounds.
Mrs Davenport said: “These days we tend to do babies and under twos. It’s the pleasure you get from seeing them come on.
“We have done a few adoptions and that’s nice, when you see them go to new parents. It’s lovely.”
The Davenports were recognised for providing an inclusive environment, with foster children developing relationships with their grandchildren.
They also invite previously fostered children to family celebrations.
The couple help the children in their care to be in contact with their natural parents. Mrs Davenport, who married husband Edward, 74, in 1971, said their success was a team effort.
She said: “We couldn’t have done it without the help of our girls.”