Lord Provost Sadie Docherty has paid tribute to council foster carers Joe and Betty Middleton after the couple's recent success in two national awards.
The Lord Provost hosted a special afternoon tea for Joe and Betty in the City Chambers as a small thank you for their outstanding contribution to Glasgow's vulnerable young people during 20 years of fostering with the council.
Overall the Middleton's have provided a home for more than 186 children and young people who have needed to be looked after and accommodated.
Now both in their 80s, Joe and Betty's exceptional fostering career recently led to them to win in the Hero Mum or Dad category at the RBS Finding Scotland's Real Heroes Awards, which are shown on STV. The couple then went on to be honoured at the Daily Record's Real Heroes Awards, picking up the Senior Hero Award.
The Middletons are still with their 21-year-old foster son Tom McBride, who they have looked after since he was three-years-old, and continuing to provide short-term respite care to Glasgow children, the Lord Provost felt it was appropriate for the couple's efforts to be recognised by the city.
The couple were welcomed into the Lord Provost's personal office along with their birth daughter Pauline Collings and foster son Tom for a private reception.
The Lord Provost said: "Joe and Betty have enjoyed a remarkable career as foster carers and it's right that as a city we express our gratitude to them. This reception is therefore just a small token of Glasgow's appreciation for a very special couple.
"They have opened up their own home for many, many years and have made such a difference to so many of the city's vulnerable children. We are obviously delighted to have welcomed them to the City Chambers to say thank you. But from speaking to them, I think the real tribute to them as foster carers is the fact that so many of the children they have looked after keep in touch with them.
"It shows the strong bonds that foster carers develop with those they look after and the positive impact providing a loving and stable home can have on children going through a turbulent time in their lives.
"Glasgow is always looking to recruit more foster carers and I would urge anyone who has ever considered fostering to get in touch with the council. We've been very lucky to have people of the calibre of Joe and Betty as foster carers and hopefully their experience can inspire others to follow in their footsteps."
Joe and Betty first considered fostering following the birth of their daughter, Pauline. Betty had two older boys from a previous marriage, but the couple wanted Pauline to have a sibling she could grow up with. Soon after they took in Barbara as a two year-old and she became part of the family. Barbara has long since moved to Australia to work as a nurse, but she still speaks to her foster mum every week.
Next, three siblings arrived, aged between 8-months and five years. It was the start of constant flow of children and young people through their Bathgate home. Christmases could be particularly chaotic with 20 people turning up at the dinner table one year and piles of presents everywhere, but being surrounded by young people seems to have spurred the couple on.
"It's kept me young!" says Joe
Many of the children looked after by the couple have gone on to be adopted permanently by other couples, but for Betty that brings its own rewards.
"When you think about what the children have come from and what they are going to, that's your satisfaction right there - to know they are going to be brought up fine."
For anyone who is thinking about fostering she advises: "You have got to think about the child and make sure they are secure; make sure they can have love, that's the most important thing, most definitely.
"When I was going through training ages ago I was told that 'it's not your child, you can't really love it like your own'. But that was wrong. When I think about someone like Barbara or Pauline, I see them as just the same. They are just children. It doesn't make any difference."
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Find out more information on fostering here or telephone 0345 276 5555