A special message from The Duke of Sussex
Christmas can be a particularly tough time for those missing loved ones, so earlier this month, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved British Forces children, put on a magical Christmas party for its members, which took place aboard a boat on the River Thames, and included a very special message from Prince Harry.
Founded by war widow Nikki Scott, Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a national charity which provides support to children across the UK who have lost a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. The charity was set up in memory of Nikki’s husband and father to her two children, Corporal Lee Scott, after he was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.
Scotty’s does lots of things to support its members throughout the year including health and wellbeing support, development opportunities and giving them the chance to smile. The annual Christmas party is a very special opportunity for the children to not only have a magical time but also meet other children in the same situation, and this year was particularly special as Prince Harry recorded a video message especially for the children.
Nikki Scott, Founder of Scotty’s Little Soldiers said: “We’re so grateful to The Duke of Sussex for kindly recording a video message for the bereaved Forces children that attended the Scotty’s Little Soldiers Christmas party earlier this month. It can be a difficult time of year for these kids, so receiving a heartfelt message from Prince Harry really meant the world to them. The message was a surprise and the look on their faces was priceless. In the Christmas spirit, we thought we would share it here for all to enjoy!”
Children ranging from age 4 to 18, along with their surviving parent, travelled to London from all over the UK, courtesy of The Rail Delivery Group which represents train companies and Network Rail. The families stayed in London the night before the party, so they were ready for the celebrations to commence first thing in the morning.
At breakfast time the kids were all given a newspaper reporting that the Queen’s precious jewels had been stolen. They were told they were being recruited by MI5 and were split into teams to undertake a special mission – to find the jewels. They were then taken down to the River Thames where they boarded the spectacular Dixie Queen boat. After setting sail, London’s famous Tower Bridge was opened especially for them and The Metropolitan police escorted them with a police boat to add to the excitement. The children then undertook various tasks and fun challenges to solve the mystery. Once the jewels had been found they were presented to a Queen lookalike at a festive after-party venue, where the children also met Father Christmas.
Whilst the focus of the party was creating a fun, memorable experience, all activities were designed with childcare professionals to encourage wellbeing, confidence, communication and team-working – areas of identified challenge.
The video message from Prince Harry was an extra special treat for the children and they also received a message from TV presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, so it was an exciting day for everyone.
This year’s party also included a multi-charity resource village on the boat which was available for families requiring information or support. The Army Widows’ Association, RAF Widows’ Association, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Widows’ Association, Royal British Legion and The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Children’s Fund were all in attendance.
The event was kindly supported by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund, RNRMC and The MacRobert Trust.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers, PR Contact: Sarah Woonton 07753971624 / firstname.lastname@example.org