RETIRED caretaker Frank Tomlinson, aged 70, and his wife Bernie are still fostering three children, including a baby, as they enter their 16th year of looking after youngsters on behalf of a council.

The couple have taken care of nearly 40 babies, toddlers and teenagers for Blackburn with Darwen Borough.

And they still love the job.

To mark the start of Fostering Fortnight, Mr and Mrs Tomlinson have shared their experiences to encourage others to care for vulnerable children. The couple are caring for a seven-month-old baby, her four-year-old sister and a 15-year-old boy.

Mrs Tomlinson, who has four children of her own and 10 grandchildren, said: “I honestly think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done.

“It makes us feel young and has definitely brought us closer together as a couple.

“Seeing the change in the children is just so rewarding when you get them into a routine you see them thrive.

“We had one little lad who wouldn’t come out from behind the settee at first, very quickly he changed and became a lovely, confident little boy.”

Mr Tomlinson, who spent 20 years working at Blackburn College, said: “There’s never a dull moment in this house.

“It definitely keeps you busy, active and your brain working.”

Cllr Maureen Bateson, the council’s children’s services boss, said: “We are truly thankful to Bernie and Frank and to all of our wonderful foster carers.”