A remarkable Trowbridge woman, who is retiring as a foster carer after more than 30 years of service, is looking forward to a two-month holiday to Australia in the New Year.

Mollie Lloyd, 68, has been a foster carer with Wiltshire Council since July 1980 and during that time has cared for more than 200 children.

She moved to Trowbridge from West Sussex in 1979, using her experience gained training as a nurse in Portsmouth to care for children with conditions such as Down’s Syndrome and life-threatening health illnesses.

Mrs Lloyd is celebrating her retirement with a holiday to Australia in January, the first holiday in 45 years without children, before she moves nearer to Portsmouth.

She said: “I am going to start my retirement with a good holiday to Australia, where I’m going to meet another retired Wiltshire foster carer who is still a close friend.

“It will be nice to have fun and relax in a much warmer climate.

“When I get return I’m moving back to Portsmouth to live near my eldest son and his family, as I think they want me back.

“Being a foster carer has been hugely rewarding, but it is also demanding.

“I have looked after children whose lives were previously chaotic, but after giving them a stable home they have become happy and healthy people.

“Children are very individual and some have had traumatic upbringings, so you have to be patient and give them the belief there is something better for them in life.”

Alongside her duties as a foster carer, Mrs Lloyd has also raised her own children Julian, Caroline, Duncan and Simon, who died a few years ago after suffering from a severe disability.

She has made many personal sacrifices in the interest of her foster children and continues to offer support to young people who have left her care.

Mrs Lloyd said: “It can be difficult, but there is also much more to fostering than just looking after a child. There is ongoing training, meetings with other carers and being there to support each other.

“I used to be shy and retiring, but I found myself through fostering.

It has been a pleasure to see children turn their lives around and thrive. I have had a wonderful life and I have so many happy memories.”

The council arranged a small send-off to thank Mrs Lloyd for all of her hard work and commitment over the years where she was presented with a flowers and a certificate by Wiltshire Council’s fostering manager Gill Burtwell.

She said: “Mollie is a remarkable person and her commitment to fostering is outstanding.

“She has made such a huge difference to the lives of many vulnerable young children in Wiltshire and will be greatly missed. We wish her all the best in her retirement.”

To learn more about fostering, contact the council on 0800 1696321, email fostering@wiltshire.gov.uk or visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/ foster ing