A Bangor woman who has looked after and nurtured generations of children is retiring after being a foster carer for 35 years.
Looking after children is in the blood of Rosemary Duggan, 85, of Ashley Road in the city as both her mother and grandmother fostered children and she trained in childcare in her native France after leaving school.
Mrs Duggan said: “I enjoyed it and will miss it terribly. I first started fostering in 1980 – I had to give up work to look after my son who was ill and I thought it was something useful I could do.”
Over the years, Mrs Duggan has raised children of all ages and taken in young mothers with their babies.
She said: “I think I have fostered around 40 or 45 children. I still get letters, cards and photographs from many of them and some come to visit me. It’s nice to keep in touch with them and to remember them. I know I will never lose touch with some of them.
“It has been hard work all of these years, especially as some of the children have had difficult and unstable times and I’ve had to help them learn how to live. I’ve always tried to work with the parents of the children and to help them.
“But it has been very rewarding work. I would encourage anyone who is interested in becoming a foster carer to go ahead with it and to persevere, even if things don’t always go well. It’s not always going to be perfect and you have to accept each child as an individual.”
There are currently around 190 children in foster care in Gwynedd as their own mothers and fathers are unable to look after them for a variety of reasons. Foster care may be needed for a few days or for longer spells and some for more than a year.
There are 96 registered foster carers in Gwynedd who open up their homes so that children have safe and secure places to live and grow up. Without them, many young people would have to move away from their home, extended family, friends and school to be brought up.