Foster couple of 29 years receive MBEs

Philip and Kate Gilbert with grandson Charlie Brown

Philip and Kate Gilbert with grandson Charlie Brown

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A Peterborough couple who have fostered hundreds of children over 29 years are to receive MBEs in the New Year Honours List.

Philip and Kate Gilbert were shocked to be told they are being honoured for nearly three decades of caring for children in need. Kate (67) said: “It’s very unexpected but thrilling.

“The letters came in the post, one for Philip and one for myself.

“We opened them, looked at each other and said ‘it’s not real is it’?”

The letters came at the end of November but the couple who live on the border between Peterborough and Whittlesey have had to keep the big news to themselves. Kate said: “It’s our secret. We look at each other and grin.”

Kate and Philip (70) stopped counting how many children they had fostered over five years ago when the number reached 600. But even with the “great honour” of an MBE there are no plans to stop fostering any time soon.

Kate said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed it, and while we enjoy it we will carry on doing it. It keeps you young.”

The couple stay in touch with many of the children they have fostered including one (Christoper) who is now back living at their home aged 42.

Kate added: “It’s a busy household.

“Philip says when we do stop I’m going to find it difficult to cook for two people.

“If there’s anyone out there still thinking about fostering, make an enquiry.”