Ronald and Penelope Jones, whose house in Sunbury-on-Thames was raided by armed police this morning, were both honoured by the Queen in 2009 for services to children and families.
According to an interview with Elmbridge CAN, a community group which aims “to build a culture of welcome to refugees” and help settle them in the local community, the couple have been foster parents for almost 40 years and in that time they have taken in 268 children, the last eight of which were refugees.
In the interview Mrs Jones said fostering “had its ups and downs”, adding: “They’re all children, it doesn’t matter if they’re sky blue or with pink dots on them – they just need to be loved.”
Neighbours have described 88-year-old Ronald and 71-year-old Penelope as “beautiful people”.
Nicola Ryder, who lives opposite the Joneses, said she knew them as Penny and Ron and that the couple would sometimes foster up to seven young people at a time.
Meanwhile longtime family friend Serena Barber, 45, said that the Joneses had fostered dozens of children.
She said: “Penny’s a wonderful foster mother. She takes everyone, she doesn’t turn anyone away.”
Residents of Cavendish Road in Sunbury-on-Thames were told to evacuate their homes early on Saturday morning as armed police carried out an operation in connection with the explosion on a tube train in Parsons Green, which left 30 people injured.
Those people who live close to the property that has been raided were told to make alternative arrangements for Saturday night.
Zane Evans, 24, had come with his mother-in-law to help her collect some belongings from inside the cordon.
He said: “She was told that she might be allowed home by midnight but she has decided to stay with friends tonight.
“I think lots of people have decided the same thing.”
Some residents were escorted back to their homes by police so that they could gather belongings, while others in the outer cordon were allowed to return home shortly after 8pm.
They were told once they were in their houses they must stay there unless absolutely necessary, and sign in and out of the cordon until it was lifted if they had to leave.
The news comes after an 18-year-old was arrested at the port in Dover on Saturday morning in connection with the west London attack yesterday.
The man remains in custody at a local police station and will be transferred to a south London police station soon.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said:…