Former pop star and songwriter Andrew Ridegley – best-known as one half of ‘80s pop duo Wham! – helped to celebrate the fantastic work of Camden’s longest-serving foster carers at an awards evening on Friday (6 September).

Other special guests at this year’s Camden Foster Carers Awards included comedian and actor Arabella Weir, formerly of the 1990s BBC TV sketch programme The Fast Show, and the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Maryam Eslamdoust, who thanked foster carers for the valuable work they do.

Presenting awards to dedicated Camden foster carers, Andrew Ridegley said: “It’s a privilege to be with people who give their lives and love so children can have another chance.”

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Wham star Andrew Ridgeley (L) with Camden foster carer Lydia Obeng, who received an award for 15 years of fostering.

The awards recognised and rewarded foster carers for their dedicated long service of between five and 34 years – with two awards presented for five years of service, one for 10 years, two for 15 years, including Lydia Obeng (pictured above), two for 20 years and one for 25 years. There was also a lifetime achievement award for exceptional long service.

Carole Petch, 61, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award for 34 years’ service at this year’s event, said she has fostered about 200 children during this time, ranging from emergency overnight and short-term placements to children who have stayed with her well into adulthood.

Other guests included Cllr Angela Mason CBE, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families, and Martin Pratt, the Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director, Supporting People.

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