Norwich “mother hen” praised for raising 60 foster children
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
The 'old mother hen' of Norwich, Monica Wigger has given dozens of foster children a better life over 35 years and shows no signs of stopping.
The 75-year-old started fostering to give youngsters a better life than her late husband Bernard did as a child.
But she had no idea starting out in 1981 she would go on to home 60 vulnerable children; raising them as her own brood alongside three children, seven grand-children and four great grandchildren.
Her terraced Tuckswood home has never been short of a baby or two, but she has mainly accepted teenage boys.
'We are a very loving family, and we all look after each other,' she said. 'They have always been treated as part of the family, and my door is always open.'
Though her husband Bernard passed away seven years ago from an aggressive cancer, Mrs Wigger said she will foster as long as she can muster.
'I never really thought much about it, just took the kids in and gave them a home,' she said. 'They are just like your own kids, they will have their ups and downs, but if you look after them they turn out just fine.
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'I will carry on as long as my health is good. I am young at heart and that makes a lot of difference. I just wish Bernard was still here to enjoy it.
'Ever since I was a child I have wanted to do this. I got my wish but I had to wait until I was 40 before I got there.'
Now Wigger family holidays are spectacles, with 'standing room only' at the house last New Year. The first two children she fostered, aged three and seven at the time, are now their 40s after living with her into their 20s.
One boy even changed his name to Wigger on his 18th birthday.
'There are never arguments when we are all together,' Mrs Wigger added. 'I can truly say my husband and I never went to bed on a cross word, and that is what we taught all the children.'
Norfolk County Council have now presented Mrs Wigger with a Long Service Award for her 35 years fostering.
James Joyce, Chair of the Children's Services Committee at Norfolk County Council, said: 'Foster carers like Monica are worth their weight in gold. They all have my respect, admiration and thanks as it can't be an easy thing to do. 'The fact that we have such long-serving foster carers demonstrates how rewarding it is to make a real difference to young people's lives.'
People can find out more at www.norfolk.gov.uk/fostering, including information on who can foster, and the range of support which includes the financial allowances and contact details.