THE FAMILY of a loving dad who fostered dozens of children have paid tribute to a man who “touched a lot of people’s lives”.
Bill Chittick, 87, died of heart failure at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
The kind-hearted ex-marine engineer with the merchant navy opened the doors to the home he shared with wife of 51 years Rosemarie to more than 30 foster children.
Bill, who was born in Australia, came to Wrexham more than 50 years ago and originally only planned to stay for a year. But after meeting Rosemarie, who was working in Liverpool as a nurse, Bill moved in with her and her parents on Bertie Road.
The couple then moved shortly after to their own house on Richmond Road, where Rosemarie still lives today.
After complications during the pregnancy of son Kevin, who now lives in Australia, the couple were advised by doctors not to have any more children.
They adopted daughter Rachel, who says she was a ‘birthday present’ from Bill to her mum.
Poignantly, Rachel was adopted exactly 40 years to the date of Bill’s death.
Years later, it was the birth of Rachel’s cousin that prompted the family decision to start fostering.
Rachel Tennat, 40, said: “It was actually when my cousin was born and I suggested it would be nice to have more children in the house.
“They started (fostering) when I was about 10. We were doing short-term and emergency fostering and they were always for different lengths of time.
“I think they touched a lot of people’s lives between the two of them.
“He would help anyone, it did not matter who they were.
“We often had family we didn’t even know turn up at our door and there was always a bed for them.”
And nothing would make Mr Chittick’s day more than unexpectedly bumping into one of his foster children.
Rachel added: “He used to come home with a smile on his face when he met them in town.
“Dad had an impact on their ability to have a family of their own. They would take his spice for life and pass that on to their own kids. He was just everyone’s friend.”
The couple only stopped fostering 12 years ago after concerns about Mrs Chittick’s health.
A memorial service for Mr Chittick will be held at 10.30am on November 5 at Wrexham Crematorium on Pentre-Bychan Road.