Foster carers who have dedicated more than 65 combined years to looking after children have spoken about how rewarding their lives are.

The selfless work of foster carers in the Three Rivers area has again been applauded to mark Foster Care Fortnight.

This is Fostering was the theme of this year’s fortnight which highlighted the work of carers, some of whom have been fostering for many years.

Daphne Tyler, from Sarratt, has been fostering for 36 years and with her late husband Terry, has fostered more than 185 children.

She said: “It’s an amazing feeling to be able to change a child’s life. It’s like watering a flower and then watching it flower and thrive.

“I just love fostering. Fostering is my life and passion and I never want to give it up, it would leave a huge void in my life. Children need emotional warmth and I just want the children to feel loved and to receive unconditional love.

“I totally understand how things in a child’s life affect their behaviour and I look through the behaviour, and see a frightened, vulnerable child. It’s amazing to be able to build on a child’s self-esteem and confidence.”

“A teenager we fostered 22 years ago turned up at my house a few weeks ago and asked if I remembered her. The lady, now in her 30s, wanted to thank me. We now plan to meet up when the lockdown is over.”

Fellow long-term foster carers Carole and Mick Knell, from Bushey, have dedicated their lives to caring for children for 29 years.

They are currently fostering two sisters, aged six and nine, and have been kept busy during the lockdown.

Mrs Knell said: “The children bring laughter and energy into our home and we just love fostering. Home-schooling has been fun, the girls love doing arts and crafts, etc. We also have a paddling pool and trampoline and a big garden to play in, so they have lots to do. The girls get on well and play together which is a bonus, so the lockdown hasn’t been so bad at all.”

Throughout their years of fostering, the couple has been supported by their five children - one of whom is adopted - they are now all adults - and six grandchildren. It has become a huge part of their lives too.

Mrs Knell added: “Fostering is our way of life. We find fostering very rewarding as we all enjoy caring for children and watching them grow and thrive. My family feel like they are giving something back to children who are not so fortunate.”

Anyone wanting to become a foster carer must be over 21 and have at least one spare room at home.

To find out more, call 0800 917 0925 or email For more information, visit