Wandsworth’s most experienced and longest-serving foster carer is retiring after more than 40 years.
Pearl Howard MBE has provided a stable and loving home for well over a hundred young people, mostly alongside her husband Claude before he passed away, and was particularly skilled at caring for teenage boys. She was awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours.
A ceremony was hosted by the Mayor of Wandsworth Jane Cooper to thank her and her family, including Claude, for their service over the past 40 years.
Mrs Howard said she had considered retiring before, but she and Claude realised they had more to give.
“Some carers will say they don’t get that much support but I haven’t got any complaints at all," she said.
"If I pick the phone up and call because I’m having problems, I always get somebody at the other end of the line.”
Cllr Cooper added that she was proud to host the event.
“She’s an amazing lady and she’s so amazing that the Queen awarded her an MBE on our recommendation two years ago," the mayor added.
"Today we’re honouring her and saying goodbye and thank you for all the hard work she has done here.”
Newly-approved foster carer Ruth Stebbing said she was hugely inspired by Pearl.
“She has just given me some of her wisdom to be loving and patient and resilient," she said.
"Since we applied to Wandsworth they have been so supportive and kind and we are really excited to start.”
Foster carers do not need to own their own home, but they do need a spare room.
You can be married, in a civil partnership, or single and Wandsworth’s carers come from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Single foster carers, or at least one member of a couple, must be aged between 25 and 60 and be in good health. You will be paid allowances and fees.
Information sessions on becoming a foster carer are being held at the town hall on February 20, March 19 or April 16. The council advised anyone wanting to take part to call the local authority prior to the day.