Veteran foster carer Catherine Gullen has been honoured by the Queen.
Mrs Gullen, Mansfield Woodhouse, has been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.
The 67-year-old, who has been recognised for services to children, said: “I am still getting over the shock.
“I never knew anything about it and when I received my letter I was really startled.
“When you have done smething for more than 30 years, it is nice to be appreciated for it.”
Mrs Gullen has been registered as a foster carer with Nottinghamshire Fostering Association since 1988.
She has fostered more than 35 children, providing them with a stable and nurturing environment that prepares them for moving on.
Mrs Gullen often takes on children with high needs, including babies. and has built strong relationships with birth parents through regular communication and support.
She records significant milestones reached by children in her care in a communications book.
In addition, she puts an emphasis on each child’s own identity, ethnicity and culture, encouraging different diets, religious festivities and languages.
Since 2013, she has been part of a buddy scheme where she is matched with prospective foster carers to provide support and answer questions.
She has befriended kinship foster carers who are living in Nottinghamshire and caring for a group of five siblings from outside the authority, offering advice, guidance and support to reduce the carers’ isolation.
She is also a facilitator for the pre-approval training that all prospective carers attend as part of their assessment process, through which she shares her experience and knowledge of fostering.