“Putting smiles back on those children’s faces is what drives me to raise money for Scotty’s”

Breaking World Records for Scotty’s!

Breaking a World Record is something only a small number of us will achieve in a lifetime, and breaking three, while raising money for a charity extremely close to your heart, well that’s unheard of.

But that’s exactly what friend of Scotty’s and dedicated fundraiser, Simon Whittaker did. Over the last seven years, Simon has broken three World Records and individually raised between £25,000 to £30,000 for Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Former Soldier, Simon, served in the same regiment as Corporal Lee Scott, who was killed in Afghanistan in July 2009 leaving behind two young children and wife, Scotty’s founder, Nikki Scott.

Lee was the reason Nikki set up Scotty’s, and over the last few years Simon has dedicated many hours to raising vital funds in his friend’s name.

In this post we chat to Simon about his heroic fundraising efforts and how, for him, the most important thing is putting the smiles back on children’s faces.

Simon, tell us a little bit about your fundraising events over the last few years.

Where do I start? I first started fundraising for Scotty’s in 2013 by breaking the Rugby World Record at Welford Road, home of Leicester Tigers. We played continuously for 24 hours and 50 minutes. I then broke the same record in 2016 playing for 29 hours.

Then in 2019 I turned my hand to darts and broke the World Record in Darts playing for 50 hours 2 seconds none stop.

Then in between all that I’ve organised several fundraising events including hog roasts and charity auctions to raise money for Scotty’s. And in 2018 I walked up and down Snowdon six times in 24 hours.

What did you have to do to make your event happen?

For each World Record attempt getting the teams together was the most difficult part. Leicester Tigers were an incredible support and provided us with complimentary use of the ground, helped with the match officials and food.

Recruiting volunteers was also crucial in the organisation of the Snowdon walk. Getting volunteers who would happily walk the distance with me was a challenge but luckily, I have great friends and four of them joined me in the climb.

How much did you raise and how did you achieve this?

I’ve raised between £25,000 and £30,000 for Scotty’s in total and there have been various channels that have really helped me do that. Setting up a Just Giving page from the very beginning was important and meant I could share what I was doing with friends and family. I also found Facebook useful in spreading the word to friends I haven’t seen for a while or lost touch with. The sports clubs, both rugby and darts were great in sharing what we were doing with their customers which helped give us an extra boost.

What was the biggest challenge or problem that you came up against whilst fundraising and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge is time. Finding the time to organise and then train for each event was probably the hardest thing. In organising any fundraising event you need to be willing to dedicate your own time and weekends to getting it right. For me there was a lot of time required to train and in getting people together. When it’s a cause so close to your heart like Scotty’s you want to make sure everything goes to plan so that you can raise as much money as possible.

What would be your advice to someone else who is trying to raise funds?

Back everything up and be prepared that things might not go to plan. Be prepared with a plan b if necessary and be prepared and happy to dedicate yourself to the cause.   

What made you decide to raise funds for Scotty’s Little Soldiers?

Scotty’s is a charity very close to my heart. I served with Corporal Lee Scott for many years and know Nikki and her children personally so I’ve always wanted to do what I can to support those children. Lee came from my hometown, I knew him well, so I’ve always just wanted to do my bit to help put the smiles back on those children’s faces.

How and why did you choose the fundraising events you did?

 Both World Record attempts were sports I love playing, so it was an easy decision to get involved, and on the plus side they were all good for my fitness. I never ever thought they’d be challenges I’d be able to complete but each one I’ve been immensely proud to be a part of.

How did the events go and how did you feel afterwards?

 I felt really tearful and overwhelmed. After the first Rugby World Record attempt Nikki came on to the pitch and gave me a cuddle. She told me what an amazing job I was doing, and that Lee would be proud which brought back a whole load of emotions. I was obviously tired after all events, but the adrenaline really does keep you going. I was just so proud to complete them all, the pain and tiredness quickly disappeared when we were told we’d broken the records.

If you’re thinking about organising a fundraising sporting event, want to break a World Record (or any other) event for Scotty’s get in touch or visit www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk for more information on how to get involved.

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