Father’s Day is the one day each year dedicated to honouring the paternal bonds that are important in life.

It’s the perfect opportunity to say a big thank you to the fathers and male figures in every family, whether it’s dads, uncles, granddads, cousins or friends.

Some of the fathers who are the most deserving of a special day in their honour are foster carers who spend their time looking after and caring for babies, children and young people who are in need.

Keith Hemmingway has spent the past seven years doing just that and, together with his wife Julie, has provided a safe and secure home for two young girls as well as emergency care and short-term and long-term placements for youngsters, ensuring that each new arrival is made to feel like part of the family.

When Keith and Julie’s two daughters grew up and left home, the couple made the most of their new-found freedom and enjoyed extended holidays in their new caravan as well as trips abroad.

But, they soon realised that a quiet house was not something they could get used to and they wanted to fill their home with the love and laughter of children and young people who needed a place to stay.

Keith said: “We enjoyed our time together and loved our holidays but we definitely suffered from ‘empty nest syndrome’.

“Our daughters had moved out and, at that point, we didn’t have any grandchildren, but we knew we wanted to offer our home to children who needed one.

“We really missed being parents and the feeling of other people depending on you.

“The application process went very smoothly once we decided to become foster carers and we had a fantastic social worker supporting us.

“We were approved in the December and we were on holiday the following March when we got the email to say that we would have two sisters staying with us once we returned home.”

The two girls are still with Keith and Julie and they are part of the family enjoying holidays together with the couple’s daughters and five grandchildren.

On Sunday, Keith will be celebrating with the whole family as they thank him for all his hard work, love and kindness.

Keith said: “Normally, I would be cooking but they won’t let me lift a finger.

“Every Father’s Day I always get spoilt rotten and they all pamper me.

“I will definitely get to relax for the day!”

Next week, we will look at who can become a foster carer in Bolton.

For more information about becoming a foster career visit www.bolton.gov.uk/fostering, email fostering@bolton.gov.uk or call 0800 107 1564.

Help and advice is available during monthly webinar

Fostering for your local council provides children with a safe space to live while remaining in a town or city that they are familiar with.

Bolton, Bury, Salford and Wigan councils have come together to provide information about the benefits of fostering with your local council.

Could you provide a safe space in a familiar place for a child?

Are you thinking about fostering and want to know more?

Whether you’re ready to start your journey into fostering or just wanting to find out more, join us for our next webinar on Wednesday, June 23 and let us help to steer the way.

Local fostering representatives will cover everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer with your local council, talking you through the process, rewards and benefits and what support is available together with an opportunity to ask questions and hear from some of our current foster carers.

Email fostering@bolton.gov.uk and we will send you a link to join the webinar, which starts at 7pm.