As previously noted on this blog, my mother Cherie McKeown (prev. Paton, ms Graham) passed away on November 28th 2013. In her life she raised four children of her own, but beyond this, whilst living in Wolverhampton and Manchester in England, she became a temporary carer to many others from some very disturbed backgrounds. Over the course of a decade, she helped almost forty children as a foster carer.
Last month, the CEO of Swiis Foster Care, Tim Notchell, sent a tribute to her husband Jim about her work with them. He stated that "Cherie was immensely respected by our Foster Care team and was a wonderful example to everyone of how love and compassion could change the lives of even the most vulnerable of children for the better... Cherie epitomised everything that we endeavour to achieve within Swiis and we are extremely grateful for work you have undertaken for all of the children you have cared for over so many years."
In his concluding comments he added that: "I hope that the legacy that Cherie has left to all the children you have cared for so long offers you some degree of comfort, the difference that you made to the lives of so many children will I am sure never be forgotten by the children themselves. Cherie will always be fondly remembered and highly cherished by the staff of Swiis."
In Mum's house she had a "wall of fame", on which she placed a picture of each of those children she had tried to help. For privacy reasons I have deliberately reduced the size of the picture to protect their identities, but the wall was equally a testament to her work as a foster carer.