Babs Bower became a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to children and families.

The 72-year-old from Ifield, has been a foster mother to 128 vulnerable children in a fostering career which has spanned 38 years.

She said: “They’ve been so lovely and I’ve really enjoyed it. They give you so many memories, it’s been a very rewarding thing to do.

“I think it’s been satisfying for them and for me, especially when you hear back from them, to tell you what they’re up to now, and you think ‘I did a little bit of that, I put my little something in, when they were little’.”

She began fostering in 1970.

Babs had one child of her own but after a series of miscarriages thought she would not have more children.

She said: “I thought, ‘OK, I’ll look after other people’s’.”

After fostering for 18 years – alongside raising two further children of her own, and one adopted son – she took a break for ten years and started again in 1998.

She has also provided respite care to other foster carers and, according to social workers who nominated her, is an insightful, helpful and flexible partner in making positive impact on children’s lives.