Plymouth adopters and social worker recognised in queen’s birthday honours


A Plymouth based social worker and a couple of have adopted four children all with differing needs, have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Alison and Tom Gilligan have been awarded an MBE for Services to Children. The couple who adopted children with Plymouth City Council said it’s the best thing they have done and wish they had done it years ago. They added that parenting children with special needs brings different rewards and hope more people consider adopting a child with special needs.

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young people said: “We know that is always difficult to try and find adoptive families for children and young people with special needs. Unfortunately these children who are desperate for a family of their own often end up staying in the care system. We know that being part of a loving secure family is best and the fact that Tom and Alison have adopted four children all with their own needs makes them truly special and I’m thrilled they have been recognised.”

Margaret Bersey

Margaret Bersey

It’s also been a celebration for children’s social worker Margaret Bersey. Margaret has helped to provide a stable and caring environment for hundreds of children and young people for nearly 40 years in Plymouth and her dedication to her job and to the children of Plymouth has been exceptional, always putting the needs of the children first.

Margaret said: “This is such a wonderful honour to receive and I still really can’t quite believe that I have been recognized for simply doing my job. I consider it a great privilege to have been able to work with so many children, young people and their families in Plymouth and to able to see so many children overcome early life adversities and go on to become confident young people, and in some cases successful parents themselves, has been a strong motivator in my career. I would like to thank all of those people who have supported me over the years in my work and most particularly the children and young people themselves, for the sense of achievement the privilege of working with them has afforded me.”

Councillor Beer continued: “I’m over the moon for Margaret. She is a much loved and respected member of the service, and has received numerous commendations both from social work colleagues, foster carers and from partner agencies. Her MBE is well deserved and reflects so well on the care she has provided to some of the most vulnerable young people. Looking after children is one of the most important jobs we have as a Council and I’m extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of all our social workers.”