‘Beautiful soul’ gets MBE for fostering
SOCIETY: Finding herself homeless at the age of 11 and enduring a traumatic childhood was the incentive that Lorraine Long needed to help as many troubled children as she could throughout her adult life.
And Mrs Long’s work over the past 36 years to foster up to 600 children saw her collect her MBE yesterday.
FINDING HERSELF homeless at the age of 11 and enduring a traumatic childhood was the incentive that Lorraine Long needed to help as many troubled children as she could throughout her adult life.
And Mrs Long’s tireless work over the past 36 years to foster up to 600 children saw her collect her MBE yesterday from Prince William at Buckingham Palace.
The grandmother-of-two, 59, started fostering aged 21 and has cared for up to 600 children from periods as short as overnight stays to as long as 11 years.
Prince William awarded Mrs Long her MBE during a ceremony at the palace in London yesterday after she was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List in the summer for her services to children and families..
Mrs Long, from Tingley, Leeds, who fosters with her husband, Philip, 68, said: “I was nervous, but it all went well.
“This award highlights all of the good work that foster carers do.”
Sean Dirrane, 31, had little education and was a troubled 11-yearold when he went into Mrs Long’s care.
He left her care when he was aged 18 to study for a sports science degree at the former Leeds Metropolitan University and now runs his own company.
His business, Cosmos Engagement, supports universities with government initiatives to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds progress to higher education.
Mr Dirrane, of Rawdon, wrote in support of Mrs Long’s MBE nomination, stating: “Lorraine showed love where I had lost hope. She was consistent when I had always experienced inconsistency, she was warm and approachable when I had always been fearful of adults.”
A woman who was cared for by Mrs Long from the age of 14, wrote: “This lady, more than any I have ever encountered, deserves to be recognised for the love she shares daily. She’s an absolute hero and a beautiful soul.”
The woman, who works as a mental health support worker, added: “The support and kindness she showed me was phenomenal.
“She was patient and calm with me. She offered guidance and support when I needed it and showed me love which I had never fully received and it was an unconditional love that I hadn’t experienced before.”
Mrs Long’s mother, Elizabeth, committed suicide at the age of 32 in the mid-1960s when Mrs Long was just five years old.
Mrs Long said her late father subjected her to physical abuse and she ran away from home at the age of 11.
She said: “I had a really bad childhood and had to fend for myself.
“I brought myself up. I went from house to house and lived on the streets.
“Fostering was just something that I wanted to do. There was nobody there for me when I was growing up and I just thought if I could be there for others then they will have a chance in life.
“I didn’t realise just how much of an impact I have had on the children.
“I just do what I do. Kids are misunderstood in a lot of ways. If you just take time to speak to them and understand what they are going through then they really can come good.”
Mrs Long, who works as a contract manager for cleaning company Premier Support Services, travelled to London yesterday with 15 family and friends, including her grandchildren, Mollie, aged 12, and eight-year-old Lexie, and four foster children.
Mr Long, a retired human resources director, put his wife forward for the MBE.
He said: “I think what she has done is incredible.”
Carer has given a home to hundreds of children She’s an absolute hero and a beautiful soul. A woman cared for by Lorraine Long as a teenager writes in support of her MBE.
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