A SUPER mum who has welcomed 60 children into her home over the last 25 years has scooped a national award in honour of her efforts.

Dianne Preston, 55, has been fostering pre-adoption babies, many with severe health problems, and caring for them for up to two years since 1984.

Thirteen years ago she formed such a close bond with one baby, Sophie, who had Down’s Syndrome, autism and a congenital heart defect, that she adopted her permanently. And the teenager is now very much an integral part of the Preston family.

Dianne, of Manchester Road, Barnoldswick, was nominated for the Tesco Magazine Caring Mum of the Year award by her three sons, Andy, Daniel and Matthew, who were all younger than 10 when she began fostering.

The trio, who are now in their thirties, wrote a letter to Tesco Magazine to nominate their mum last year.

Dianne, who fosters with husband David, said: “I knew nothing about the letter at all. I got a call from Andy to say Tesco might be in touch but he wouldn’t tell me anything else.

“When I won I was very proud but still a bit surprised. There are a lot of really good foster carers out there, so it’s nice to be recognised for our work over the years. It’s hard but rewarding.”

Sophie, now 13, attends Ridgewood Community High School, in Burnley, and requires around-the-clock care.

But Dianne, who still receives cards and letters from children she has cared for, remains as keen as ever to foster.

She said: “I have no idea where I get the energy from but the motivation is always there. I still get that buzz from it.”

This year’s winners were chosen by a panel of judges including the Prime Minister’s wife, Sarah Brown.

Dianne, who also has six grandchildren, will now attend an awards ceremony at The Waldorf Hilton, in London, on Sunday, February 28.

She has been invited for a day of pampering before the event, which will be hosted by TV presenter Fiona Phillips.

And she will meet Mrs Brown at 10 Downing Street with the other winning mums.

* Dianne fosters through Lancashire County Council. For details on how to become a foster carer call 0800 1951183.