Making incredible experiences happen for our members
Scotty’s Little Soldiers family join bereaved military families from the U.S. at the 2019 NFL Pro Bowl in Florida
For Scotty Members, Bella and Evie Lockwood, 2019 is already a year to remember. Thanks to Scotty’s Little Soldiers and its ever-growing relationship with American military bereavement charity, TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), the girls and their mum, Laura, were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend a weekend at the NFL Pro Bowl in Florida, meeting the players and getting to know other bereaved military families from the US.
Bella and Evie, who lost their dad, Staff Sergeant Michael Lockwood of the Royal Horse Artillery in May 2014 to a brain tumour, were invited to attend the special weekend in Florida, giving them the opportunity to meet and connect with other bereaved military families, form special bonds and relationships and create new memories together.
Laura and her daughters, aged 7 and 8, were put forward for the experience by Scotty’s following a previous joint Scotty’s and TAPS event in London, to help support them with their grief. Laura explains: “I’ve really been struggling with my grief after losing Michael and so had Bella, so when Nikki invited us to our first TAPS event in October last year to meet other families in the same situation I instantly said yes. Just having the opportunity to meet and talk to other parents who have lost their partners and being able to talk about what we were going through was an enormous help.
“The support we’ve received from Scotty’s over the last few years has been amazing and without them me and the girls wouldn’t have had the incredible opportunity to meet other families who, like us, are coping with the grief of losing a loved one.”
As part of the weekend activities, Laura, Bella and Evie were given the opportunity to watch professional NFL players practice, attend the big game and participate in other activities, all made possible through a grant provided by the NFL to TAPS.
Laura added: “It was such an amazing weekend and the girls loved it. Normally they are both quite shy, but I was amazed at how well they settled in and just started talking to the other children. We didn’t know anyone when we arrived, but we instantly felt part of a big welcoming family.
“The best part of the weekend for me was seeing all the children happily playing together and the friends we made. I came home with a new group of friends who understand exactly what I’m going through, friends and who I know I can turn to if I’m having a bad day or if Bella is struggling. I felt comforted that there would always be someone at the other end of the phone should I need them. And none of this would have been possible without Scotty’s.”
Scotty’s Little Soldiers founder, Nikki Scott said: “Being able to make these incredible experiences happen for our members is what Scotty’s is all about. For Laura, Bella and Evie, having the opportunity to talk about what they are going through with other families in the same situation and having a network of people they can turn to when they need support is so important in helping them cope with their grief.
“It’s thanks to TAPS and the NFL that we’re able to offer these amazing opportunities to our beneficiaries and will continue to do so as we work more closely together.”