A Hillsborough woman has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to children after providing fostering respite and foster care for the last 12 years to over 50 children.
Margaret Lecky and her husband John have been child minders for the last 29 years before deciding 12 years ago to provide foster respite and care.
They have been recognised in Northern Ireland and they will both head off to Buckingham Palace to formally attend a garden party.
What is more remarkable is that Margaret and John are 66 and 67 years respectively and still to this day provide love, care and support for foster kids.
Margaret doesn’t mind sharing her story of how their life of caring came to be and is keen to highlight that her husband John has been instrumental in the way they help others.
The reality for Margaret and John many years ago was that they couldn’t have children.
She said: “I had a hysterectomy. Whilst it was difficult I knew I wanted to help children and have them in our life, never expecting to go this far.
“Thirtyyears ago our close friends asked if I would be interested in helping them by doing some child minding.
“I jumped at the chance and really loved it. I enjoyed the fact that I was helping the kids and our friends equally.
“Over time we both felt we could do more and make a difference.
“One thing led to another and we then, after a smooth process of application, started doing some fostering respite and we loved it.”
Whilst many parents will play a significant part in their child’s development, Margaret and John have done it for over 50 children and to this very day they are still provide loving care, especially to babies.
Margaret continued: “Sometimes we might have a number of babies in the house at one time and we would obviously have to keep them close by for feeding.
“It is not unusual for one child to be in a cot on John’s side of the room and one on my side so that we share the responsibility and ability to keep around the clock care.
“This medal is really for the two of us, without John’s support I could never have done this.”
The reality of life and foster care means that not all of the children Margaret and John care for will remember them once they are older but in receiving this public recognition their love, time and caring will be recorded forever.