In fostering children, Lynne Sawyers travels hundreds of kilometres every week, prepares up to 15 meals a day, washes clothes, sews, bakes and raises funds. For 15 years, she has been on call to care for lost, abused and bewildered children in heartbreaking circumstances. She has fostered more than 200 children, many of whom arrived on her doorstep with huge problems, physical, intellectual and emotional. Lynne lives near Cowra with her husband, Ken, and even though she has had up to six children at a time (as well as her own daughter, Emma), she has given them a rounded, supportive and non-judgmental family environment, often their first such experience. Her warmth, humour and generosity have had an enormous impact on these children. Because of her, many are now leading fulfilled, happy lives and have adopted Lynne as their ‘second mother’. For the past 15 years, Lynne has worked tirelessly without leave, or overtime or penalties for difficult working conditions, but she could not imagine living them in any other way. At the age of 68, she continues to do her very best to give these children a better chance at a good life.
20 YEARS OF AUSTRALIA'S LOCAL HERO AWARD
“I still pinch myself that I won. I felt pride for all foster carers doing a great job and especially for the kids we’ve cared for. Every child is different, every child is special. Every child deserves a safe and loving place to call home. Winning the award helped me to raise the profile of foster caring. While I have now retired from fostering, I’m in contact with some of my foster children and I’m proud of the families they have created for themselves. If we look after children, they grow into adults who look after their children, and this can only be a good thing.
"My advice to all Local Heroes is to give yourself permission to be proud of what you've achieved. We’re a humble bunch so it doesn’t come naturally, but winning the award and meeting other amazing nominees will inspire the work you do.”