Parents to 600 children: MBEs for Hull foster carers Pat and Bryan Bottomley
MEETING the Queen, chatting with Tony and Cherie Blair and mingling with Olympic stars – it is a day Pat and Bryan Bottomley will never forget.
The west Hull couple have been honoured with MBEs after fostering 600 children.
Bryan and Patricia, who live off Anlaby Road, west Hull, have been giving troubled youngsters a home for 40 years.
They headed down to London to receive their honours at Buckingham Palace.
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Pat, 73, said: "It was an absolutely fantastic day.
"We were very lucky as this is the first time the Queen had presented the honours this year and then she was ill the next day.
"My son had organised a small, luxury coach which looked like the Orient Express inside.
"I thought it might all be a bit stuffy but, once we arrived at the palace, we were made to feel very comfortable."
Pat admits she was a little star struck.
She said: "There were actors and Olympic stars such as Jessica Ennis and Nicola Adams.
"Even Tony and Cherie Blair came over to chat to us."
Pat and Bryan made sure they were prepared when they finally met the Queen.
Pat said: "I asked how we were to address the Queen.
"We hardly got a chance to speak to her as she was chatting away to us.
"She asked us what the MBE was for and then how long we had been fostering.
"She then shook our hand, it is something I will never forget."
Despite having six children of their own, the couple always found time to help others.
Some only stayed a few days but others for ten years.
Due to ill health, the couple now provide respite care for other foster carers by taking children at weekends.
The family began fostering children with the Catholic Rescue Society and have kept in contact with many of their former foster children.
Pat and Bryan are both involved with their local church and have fundraised for many charities, including the Catholic Women's League, Dove House Hospice and the Teenage Cancer Trust.