TV stars Lydia Bright, and Debbie Douglas were surprised with a special Patron’s Award in recognition of their unwavering support of Barnardo’s at the charity’s annual awards ceremony.

Barnardo’s celebrated the former TOWIE stars, who are Fostering and Adoption Ambassadors for Barnardo’s, alongside its young achievers and volunteers at a ceremony in London yesterday (19 December).

Debbie her husband Dave, daughter Lydia and the rest of her siblings, have been a loving foster family for more than 250 babies, children and teenagers over the past 25 years. And Barnardo’s fostering and adoption work with vulnerable children is close to their hearts.

Since becoming ambassadors for the cause in 2012, both Lydia and Debbie have taken part in Barnardo’s bi-annual Fostering and Adoption campaigns. They’ve shared family photos and memories to demonstrate the importance of having a stable, loving family while urging more people to consider fostering or adopting.

Lydia has also undertaken several testing fundraising challenges for Barnardo’s. Earlier this year, Lydia and her brother Freddie joined a group of celebrities to battle extreme weather, altitude and a gruelling jungle trek to climb Borneo’s highest mountain peak, Mount Kinabalu. At 4,095m it is almost four times the height of Mount Snowdon in North Wales.

Barnardo's VIP ambassadors and foster family recognised for unwavering support
Debbie Douglas, Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Javed Khan and Lydia Bright

Despite having a fear of heights, Lydia previously tested her nerves by abseiling 114m down the ArcelorMittal Orbit, in Stratford, and just last week pushed her stamina to the limit by taking part in Barnardo’s new Urban Summit fundraising event. This saw her race up 1,250 steps to the top of London’s Leadenhall Building, also known as the Cheesegrater, with her sister Georgia.

Lydia said: 

“This was such a lovely surprise. We are both completely shocked but are over the moon to have been given such a special award.

“As we have had so many foster children join our family over the years, we know first-hand how important it is for children to have supportive, loving parents and siblings who are there for them.

“We are proud to support Barnardo’s; the work the charity does is really important to us as we know it really does make a difference.”

Debbie added: 

“We are absolutely delighted; we have been honoured to be Barnardo’s ambassadors over the years, and this is a really special moment.

“We really do believe that fostering and adoption can transform a vulnerable child’s life so would urge anyone considering either to get in touch with Barnardo’s to find out more.

“We would both like to say a massive thank you for our award; we are really pleased.”

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said:

“Lydia and Debbie are fantastic supporters of Barnardo’s, and we are incredibly grateful for everything they do.

“From climbing mountains to raise vital funds for our services, to sharing their personal stories to encourage other people to become foster carers, they are incredible ambassadors for the charity.

“On behalf of everyone at Barnardo’s, I’d like to say a massive thank you and congratulations for this well-deserved award.”

The Young Achiever awards, now in their second year, recognise children and young people who have overcome the odds to become the person they are today. Eight winners selected from each region of the UK received an award at the ceremony, which was also attended by former Government Minister and Barnardo’s child Esther McVey.

In addition to the Young Achievers, eight volunteers were given awards from the Marsh Christian Trust, which has been running for 18 years to recognise people who are at the heart of the charity sector and who voluntarily or professionally go above and beyond to make a difference.