Stars back foster parents campaign
Actors Dame Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley and Peter Capaldi are among a host of celebrities who have shared their most cherished childhood snaps to front a new drive to recruit more foster carers.
More than 8,600 foster carers are urgently needed in the UK and the campaign, led by Barnardo's, is calling on members of the public to consider becoming foster parents and help create happy childhood memories for some of the most vulnerable youngsters.
The charity has persuaded some of Britain's most famous faces including Twiggy, Amanda Holden, Nicola Roberts and Russell Howard to reveal some candid images and stories from school days, summer holidays and family life.
Using the intimate pictures, Barnardo's will be staging projection stunts throughout the charity's sixth annual Fostering and Adoption Week on some of the busiest streets in London, Manchester and Glasgow, giving a glimpse into the early years of some of the nation's favourite celebrities.
Model Twiggy said: "One of my favourite childhood memories was when we went on holiday to holiday camps by the sea every summer.
"I loved the little chalets we slept in and there was always so much to do and so many children to play with.
"Another cherished memory was being cuddled by my Dad before going to bed and him reading me a story. I felt so safe and loved."
Some of the celebrities have also been involved in short films featuring their favourite childhood memories.
Brenda Farrell, head of fostering and adoption at Barnardo's, said: "Without the right foster family to care for them, many vulnerable children may never experience the love and stability they so desperately need and happy memories will remain a distant dream.
"We are truly grateful that so many household names are helping us to broadcast our plea for people to consider becoming foster parents.
"Currently a third of all children in foster care are moved between different families more than twice every year due to the lack of suitable foster carers.
"The number of children in the care system in the UK has risen for the seventh year in a row to more than 90,000 and at least 8,600 new foster carers are needed in the UK .
"It is a critical situation and Barnardo's is looking for people with patience and commitment to provide a stable home for the most vulnerable children in the UK. Fostering is a caring career and I would encourage those who feel they have a lot of love to give to get in touch."
The charity is particularly keen to speak to older people with life experience, whether they are parents themselves or not.
There is no upper age limit although there is a minimum age of 21. Barnardo's does not exclude anyone from consideration on the grounds of marital status, gender, sexual orientation, disability or employment status.
To find out more about fostering visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fostering or call 08000 277 280.