Dubbed Nigeria’s Mother Theresa, Lydia Ina, had a 23-year career as a foster carer looking after after hundreds of children
Lydia Ina was once stopped by police as she took six kids she was looking after to buy new shoes.
To the police, a black woman walking with six white children in Manchester city centre looked odd.
However, unbeknown to them this was an extraordinary woman on a mission to care for as many orphaned children in Manchester as she could.
“The police stopped us and asked me what I was up to, and where I was going with all these children,” Lydia told the Manchester Evening News.
“Before I could answer one of the kids replied, ‘Hi mate, she’s our foster mum’.
“The police didn’t know what to say so they told us to have a good day and left us alone.
“That was back in the 90s, imagine seeing a black woman with six white children at that time.
“When I looked back I saw the police man still looking at me, I think they found it hard to believe.”
Dubbed Nigeria’s Mother Theresa, Lydia Ina, 78, led a 23 year career as a foster carer with Manchester City Council where she looked after almost 300 children.
Lydia became a foster carer when she stepped up to look after the children of a close friend.
According to Lydia, the children were at risk of being separated when they were taken away from their mother by social services.
Lydia cared for the children before they were returned to their mother and she had done such a good job that she was approached by the Manchester City Council to be a signpost for children in need.
She officially became a carer in 1991 and for 23 years Lydia’s home became a place for vulnerable children without families in the city.
As a foster carer she provided short term stays, long term stays and even took in kids who were in desperate need of a home during emergencies, meaning some children would turn up to her house in the dead of night.