Frances Winchcombe may have only had one son, butwas a mother to many more during her time as a foster carer.

When the 89-year-old was in her 30s and 40s she looked after between 15 and 20 babies while they waited for adoptive parents.

Frances, of Upper Stratton, died on March 2 after a fall, and a service will be held at Kings-down Crematorium on March 25 at 12.45pm.

Her son Alan, of Grange Park, said: “She was a foster mum while I was a teenage boy at school. She looked after babies until they found adoptive parents, usually for about three months.

“There was never a break – within a week of one going another one would arrive. She just absolutely loved babies. She only had one, which was me.

“The last one we had was until he was about 18 months old.

“She never did it after that. He became like a little brother to me.

“It was hard when he went, it broke her heart.

“It was like giving away her own child because she had seen him from a little, week-old, tiny baby. I often think about where he is and what he is doing.”

Frances Winchcombe, nee Day, who was born in Hullaving-ton, moved to Swindon to live with her aunt when she was seven because her mother died while giving birth to her brother, who also died.

Frances’ elder sister went to live in Bristol with their other aunt because their father needed to work. Frances grew up in Edinburgh Street and went to Gorse Hill and Ferndale schools.

She first saw her late husband, Bill, who died in 2005, while he was singing in the choir at St Barnabas Church in Gorse Hill when he was 16 and she was 14. They started dating after they ended up working opposite each other in Bridge Street.

They didn’t see each other for four-and-a-half years during the Second World War while Bill was serving in the RAF.

Frances was a telephonist for the fire service.

The couple tied the knot at St Barnabas Church in August 1945 – a month after Bill returned from the war.

Alan was born at the house in Edinburgh Street in 1947 and the family moved to Penhill before moving back to Edinburgh Street when Frances’ aunt died.

Frances and Bill were in the Adver in 2001 when they thanked the Princess Margaret Hospital for their help.

The couple ended up in the same ward after Bill suffered a heart attack as he tried to help Frances after she had fallen out of bed.