DOZENS of children and parents have celebrated the work of childminder Carol Trenchard who is retiring after looking after more than 200 youngsters.
Carol, Portsmouth started childminding in September 1991 after moving back to the city with husband Greg, 56 and two young daughters.
A party held in her honour saw her home once again filled with children she had looked after, from some aged just a months old to teenagers.
The 57-year-old, who is retiring due to ill health and moving to Colden Common, started when daughter Michelle Tenchard-Harrington, now 32, was at school and youngest daughter Roeshene, now 25, started pre-school.
‘There are only so many times you can clean your house,’ explains Carol.
‘A friend of mine was a childminder and suggested I contact social services and apply – I did and I’ve never looked back.
‘I’ve never stopped. I’ve always tried to give a home-from-home environment.
‘They’re treated as one of the family and that’s what I’ve always done. I like watching them achieve.’
At the party, parents paid tribute to Carol, who gets stopped on the street by teenagers she used to look after.
All three of Olender Chari’s children, Chichie, 14, Chris, 12, and Rutendo, five, were looked after by Carol, who worked from 5am to 11pm.
Olender, of Thorncroft Road, was particularly thankful as Carol looked after Chris and Chichie when Rutendo had a liver transplant at just 11 months.
She said: ‘Carol looked after Rutendo since she was six months old, with all her health problems.
‘When we went for the transplant, Christopher and Chichie stayed with Carol, of Devonshire Avenue, Southsea, for three days – she’s very special.
‘When I (first) came to visit Carol, she was followed by the children in the house and that was what did it for me.
‘She goes to open the door and they all come with her, that said a lot about her.’
Rutendo added: ‘I like that she lets us throw pillows around.
‘She’s really, really nice. I like watching DVDs with her.’
Her sister Chichie added: ‘She’s really nice, she always asks us how our day was when she picked us up. It’s been my second home since we moved to Portsmouth.’