THE Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has paid tribute to a
retired priest and his partner for jointly winning the gold
national award from Care Forum Wales as carers for young people
with mental disabilities.
The Revd Martin Reynolds and his partner, Christopher Isles
(right and left in photo), became foster carers for
five-year-old Andrew, who had autism and could not speak. Despite
many obstacles, the couple remained committed to providing him with
a supportive family home, and were eventually awarded full
Now, 22 years later, Andrew is still a central part of their
home and family life, but is now talking, and has a job in a chip
shop. The couple have also adopted Robert, and look after three
other young people who come for extended leave. All of them have
"We are really a family of six," Mr Reynolds says. He is also a
carer, in their Newport home in Monmouth diocese,
for his 91- year-old mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's.
"Caring for these young people has been the most exciting thing
that has happened in our lives. The greatest gift our lads have
given us is that they have shared the way they see our world, and
helped us understand so much more the richness of God's creation,"
Their role as carers began when Mr Reynolds was Vicar of
Pontyclun with Talygarn, and was asked by a churchwarden if he and
Mr Isles could offer respite time for a young person. Their
application was held up for six months because they were a gay
couple. "It was pretty gruesome to encounter such prejudice against
us," Mr Reynolds says. "Britain was a very different place then,
with the Section 28 legislation and opposition to gay
Today, he says, they encounter more hostility towards people
with disabilities, and he calls on Christians to help to tackle
this. "They need love more than anyone else, and I think Christians
should think about offering their homes to them."