Honour For Fostering Couple

A couple who have dedicated their lives to fostering children have both been honoured in the New Year’s Honours List. Joseph Lansdell, 61, and wife Rita, 62, from Pound Hill, have looked after 42 children in 36 years of fostering.

They will now go to Buckingham Palace to receive their honour after they were made Members of the Order of the British Empire for their services to children and families.

Caring Joseph said: “It has come completely out of the blue. We are absolutely amazed, we couldn’t believe it. We are very honoured to receive it for fostering. Both my wife and I love working with children. Rita has spent all of her life working with them and runs the creche at the church as well.

“We find it rewarding,especially when you see how well some of the children turn out. It is nice to think we might have played a part in that.”

Rita and Joseph were sent a letter on Friday informing them they had been successfully nominated. An MBE is awarded to people for outstanding service in the community and to reward dedicated service.

Rita said: “It is overwhelming. We never imagined getting honoured and we are very excited about it. We got a round of applause at our church and we have a lot of support from everyone. We have had children around us all of our lives and we love doing it. Since our last foster child at the end of November we have been off the list and have had a quiet spell. We are going back on the foster list for the new year.”

The couple have two children of their own – John, 36, and Anne, 34, who left home several years ago.

About 1,000 honours are given out in the the New Year’s Honours list after being approved by the Prime Minister and the Queen.

Mayor of Crawley, Sally Blake, offered her congratulations to the couple. She said: “I think it is wonderful. Anybody who can foster children deserves a medal. Foster parents often take children on at the drop of a hat not knowing the full circumstances and they always do it so willingly. It is nice someone in Crawley has been recognised for their efforts.”