A GLASGOW grandfather has looked after 175 children ...

and wants other people to follow his lead.

Foster parent Alistair Weir and wife Judith have spent nearly three decades caring for children.

Mr Weir, a grandfather-of-three, previously worked in sales, and is supporting four siblings aged five to 11.

The 55-year-old, from Partick, described fostering as the most satisfying job he had done

He said: "We have done every type of fostering - respite, emergency, short term and long term and have also looked after some with physical disabilities.

"They all say it can be the worst job in the world or the best job in the world.

"When you have looked after youngsters and you see them go back to a situation that you don't agree with, that is really hard.

"But when you see them moving on and achieving … that is the satisfying thing."

Mr Weir, who has a son, 31, and a daughter, 30, attends support groups with other carers at Fostering Solutions in Anniesland.

He said he had fostered 175 youngsters since the early 1980s.

He said: "We had a phone call at 4pm on one Christmas Eve to say, 'You've got a baby coming.' Imagine trying to get all the baby equipment an hour before the shops shut at Christmas time …

"We had two sisters for seven years and they still come and visit us.

"Last summer we had children who had never been on a beach or been to the swimming baths - and the oldest one was 14. So we took them on holiday to Blackpool and they were on the donkeys on the beach."

Mr Weir said he and his wife, a former nursery officer, always dreamed of fostering full-time.

Foster carers are given some pay and tax breaks to support the children, but families are advised not to do it for financial reasons.

Mr Weir said: "In the early years we had to go in and out of fostering because of money difficulties.

"Then we took a break and came back to it with Fostering Solutions. It has always been our dream to have a house big enough to have lots of children.

"Jude and I do it together. We have fallen in love with the kids. You have got to do that and enjoy it."

Mohammed Awad, 45, and Mulki Mohammed, 41, who live in Springburn, have been fostering for three years.

Mr Awad backed the call from Mr Weir. "We need to support the children who are not feeling good or have problems with their parents or their families. That is why we chose to do it," said Mr Awad.

"It can be hard but we would recommend it to anyone."

For more information contact Glasgow City Council or see the website: www.fosteringsolutions.com

rachel.loxton@ eveningtimes.co.uk