Meet the Leeds super mum who has taken in over 300 children

Leeds foster hero to over 300 children reaches birthday milestone
-Credit: (Image: WSA)

One of the most remarkable women in Leeds, who has fostered over 300 children in her lifetime, is gearing up for her 80th birthday with a surprise party.

Jackie Starkey reaches her milestone birthday on Saturday, June 29, and the care home she now lives in, Lofthouse Grange and Lodge Care Home in Wakefield, will be giving her a celebration worthy of such an amazing lady.

She was born one of twins, with Jack her sibling. Jackie has three other brothers - Julian, Tony, and Stephen. Staying local, she attended Earl Cowper School followed by Primrose High School, and married her true love Ronnie in 1966 – they remained married until he unexpectedly passed away in 2020.

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The pair have three adopted sons - Jon, Mathew, and Daniel, and Jackie now has 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Jackie embarked on a career working for engineering company Brays of Leeds and was keen to help others despite the demands of a job and bringing up a family – so she and Ronnie started fostering.

Over a span of 40 years, the couple fostered over 300 children, many of whom regularly return to visit. Jackie has become the godmother to many of the children born to her former foster children.

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She moved to Lofthouse Grange and Lodge in summer 2022 following her dementia diagnosis. She has always been an active person and now loves to spend her time walking, listening to music and making friends at the home.

Jon said: “We are extremely proud of mum, she has been a rock to us all in everything we have ever done, always there no matter how big or small. She’s an angel on earth.”

He added: “Mum has always been a quiet woman with a heart of gold, never had a bad opinion or word to speak about anyone, she had no preconceptions about anyone and is always ready to help.”