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Blackpool foster family awarded MBEs in Queen's New Year Honours

A husband and wife foster parent team from Blackpool have both been awarded the MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours.

Carl and Diane Mitchell have helped more than 90 teenagers over the last 20 years.

They've been recognised for services to children and young people.

Click below to listen to their reaction to being recognised:

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One young person in their care was failing in all of her GCSE subjects before she was placed withthe family, and after only a month she gained ten GCSEs because she was helped to gain confidence and self-belief.

Carl and Diane continue to offer care to those young people that have left their care and have even helped one to buy their own home.

They have also been awarded a long service award by the local authority in honour of their dedication to enriching the lives of vulnerable young people.

The fact that this nomination has been made by three of the young people they currently support shows how highly they value and appreciate the care that they receive.

Diane and her husband Carl have provided unconditional love and treated every child as their own. Diane also delivers training to social workers, offering a valuable insight in the daily lives of foster parents.

They aim to use the honour to promote the benefits of fostering which is desperately needed to help more young people in the resort.

Carl, 54, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled and believe we were nominated by three of our foster children, which is magical.

“We want to use this honour to promote fostering in Blackpool because it is such a much needed resource here.”

Carl, a former ice skater, and Diane, a former dancer, began fostering when their previous careers ended and their own sons, now aged 24 and 25, were little.

At first they looked after young children, but more recently have cared for teenagers and currently act as emergency fosterers for families in crisis.

Carl said: “We feel both of our sons have greatly benefited from our fostering – our youngest won a scholarship to Eton and the other now works for Sky in London.

“So to people who are nervous about it, or worry about the effect on their own children, I would say it has only been positive.

“Blackpool has more than its fair share of issues, but it handles it well and we are very well supported.

“Children are challenging, but they do keep you up-to-date and they all tend to stay in touch.””.

Diane, 53, says they “have treated every child as their own” and she now delivers training to social workers, offering an insight in the daily lives of foster parents.

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