Despite working full time and with her own three children to look after, Julie, 46, took in five of childhood pal Caroline's grieving children and is raising them alongside her own.
Tragic Caroline, 45, had lost her husband Dave, 44, to a brain haemorrhage after she was diagnosed with brain cancer and was terrified about what would happen to her children. She asked Julie to adopt them after her death when she realised her sons and daughters - aged from six to 17 - would be left orphans.
Julie now has Chantelle, six, Emma, eight, James, 10, Kieran, 11, and Michael, 12, living with her and her sons Christian, 14, Peter, 18, and Adam, 20, whilst Caroline's oldest son Tim, 17, visits regularly.
Three of the children initially had to share a tent in the garden whilst an extra bedroom was created the home, and now the family forgo holidays - and space - in order to live together.
Julie told The Mirror that Caroline was worried about what would happen to her children after her death: "Caroline said, 'What about my kids? Will you have them?'. I said, 'Yes, let's call it Plan B.' Soon after I got a call to say that Caroline had been rushed to hospital, but by the time I arrived she had passed away. It was the worst day of my life."
Single mum Julie, who works full time, admits that she gets tired but says they are 'fantastic kids and I am lucky to have them.'
I'm there when they need a mummy, when they need love. And I know Caroline would have done the same for me.
Julie's selflessness and compassion has earned her Tesco Compassionate Mum of the Year award, yet she insists that it is not time to celebrate: "It's a huge compliment, but it's not a time for me to celebrate. If my best friend hadn't died, I wouldn't have the children. What I am doing is something very natural and ordinary. This is just what I do. I'd got three boys, there's six more. I just do what I can. I don't look for any recognition, I'm just a mum."
What an amazing mum!
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