HEARTFELT tributes have poured in for a long-serving postmistress who fostered more than 30 children.

Memories have been shared of Wendy Batten, 76, who lost her battle with cancer.

Ms Batten was a well-known community figure, having owned Ulpha Post Office for more than 20 years.

She leaves behind three children, John, David and Tina as well a fourth child, Danny who sadly died aged 19.

Ms Batten was born in Kent during wartime Britain before the family moved to Cumbria.

Described as ‘very intelligent’, Ms Batten studied at Millom School in 1960 where she gained two A-Levels before going on to sit the civil service executive officers exam.

She went on to foster more than 20 children over the years, some of which were with her since newborn babies.

She took over Ulpha Post Office in 1998 and became a ‘very important’ member of the community for 22 years.

Her work with the post office and fostering was recognised when she was invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Her son, John Batten, said: "She was very humble about this but I know she felt very honoured."

Her daughter Tina Read described her as a very ‘determined and strong’ woman.

She said: “She was so stubborn, she tried to do everything herself.

“Even when she was in Millom Hospital very ill and the paramedics were losing hope, she miraculously opened her eyes again.

“They all said they’d never seen anything like it.

“She was always the person I would go to if something good or bad happened.

“She’s like a second mum to my three kids. She’ll leave a massive gap in all our lives.”

Shelagh Parker, next door neighbour and friend, said: “She was stubbornly independent and you couldn’t advise or even suggest anything to her. She was incredibly tough, we had huge respect for the way she continued to run the post office and shop despite her increasing health difficulties over the years.

“Wendy you’ve left a big hole in our hearts.”