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Your Champions 2017: Chester foster carer nominated as Person of the Year

Jacquie Rowbottom has cared for more than 250 youngsters while raising six children of her own

Jacqueline Rowbottom

A dedicated foster carer who has been providing children and young people with a stable and loving home for more than 40 years has been nominated for a Your Champions award.

Since she began fostering in 1973, Jacquie Rowbottom has cared for more than 250 youngsters while raising six children of her own.

Earlier this year, her dedication to this role earned her an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

And now Jacquie has been nominated as the Person of the Year in the 2017 Your Champions awards.

The annual Your Champions search for the unsung heroes and heroines of our community reaches its 30th year in 2017.

Every year for the past three decades, Trinity Mirror Cheshire has teamed up with ScottishPower Foundation to throw the spotlight on those people and groups who go above and beyond to make their communities a better place to live.

The 69-year-old from Mickle Trafford, a foster carer with Cheshire West and Chester Council, is the perfect candidate for the awards and received her MBE for services to children and families.

Children need someone to support them and this has been her mantra throughout her caring career which has given more than 250 young people homes.

Over the course of her 43 years’ service she has never turned a child away.

She advocates for all in her care, ensuring their rights are always upheld. These simple actions bring stability to the children’s lives.

Social workers value her experience of positively managing the challenges brought by a range of children. This support has kept families together and allowed children into permanent homes.

She also mentors new foster carers, providing them with her valued experience.

Her excellent commitment to the role is acknowledged among the fostering team and in 2013 this led to Cheshire West and Chester Council formally honouring her service.

At the time, her supervising social worker, Jan Gibson, said: “Whenever Jacquie has been asked ‘will you…?’ she has said yes.”

“Jacquie gives her all to the children who live with her and they recognise this. This is what making a difference means.

“In Jacquie’s house it means lots of love, lots of explanations, lots of laughter, lots of sleepless nights, lots of tears, and the children also learn that actions have consequences.

“When her babies and children have moved on into adoptive homes a piece of her heart goes with them, but then she picks herself up and starts all over again.”

Jacquie herself said: “I’ve always loved kids, I have a caring nature. I was born to be a mum.

“Children need routine, love and attention, someone to listen to them and to support them. It’s so rewarding and exciting when you bring happiness to their lives. They come to you with sad eyes and it’s wonderful to see that change and see their eyes light up. The smallest things bring you so much pleasure.”

Later this year, a panel of judges from Trinity Mirror and ScottishPower will come up with shortlists for all five categories in the 2017 Your Champions awatds scheme – Person, Young Person, Team, Volunteer and Sporting.

All finalists will be invited to a glittering gala, red carpet event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chester on Friday, November 17 with Olympic silver and medallist Colin Jackson CBE on hand to present awards to this year’s successful champions who will be announced on the night.

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