Little Taunton Soldier travels 177 virtual miles to deliver thank you card to Colonel Tom Moore and raise money for a charity close to her heart

Ava travels 177 miles to deliver thank you card to Colonel Tom

Eight-year-old Ava Winter, from Taunton in Somerset, is going the extra mile for a charity close to her heart, and to thank national hero and recently promoted, Colonel Tom Moore.

Inspired by the heroic efforts of Colonel Tom, Ava has set herself the challenge to virtually travel the 177 miles from her house in Taunton to Colonel Tom’s house in Bedfordshire. And in the process, she plans to raise money for bereaved Armed Forces children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers – a charity that over the last six years has been there to support her through some of the toughest times of her life.

Ava lost her dad, CSGT Aaron Winter, in December 2013, after he died while training at Norton Manor Camp in Taunton. Ava was almost two years old when she lost her dad, and since his death she has been supported by Scotty’s Little Soldiers and found solace in the support network created by the charity.

The charity, which was founded in 2010 by war widow Nikki Scott, supports hundreds of children, just like Ava, up and down the country, who at such a young age have already gone through so much. During these unprecedented times, Ava is determined to do what she can to help a charity that has done so much for her.

Ava who started her virtual challenge on 30th April is already well over halfway, with just 62 miles to go until she reaches the finish line. In total, Ava must travel 284,853 metres to reach Colonel Tom’s house and is mixing up her activities each day to bring her one step closer. For every step or action, (star jumps, burpees, sit ups, squats) Ava does, she is one metre closer to delivering her card.

Ava’s mum, Laura, is fully behind her daughter’s efforts, she said: “She’s a little star, she just keeps going, every day she gets closer to delivering her card she gets more excited. Ava really wanted to do something to help Scotty’s because the charity has been a great support and means so much to her she came up with the idea to take a card to Colonel Tom and started to work out how long it would take her to walk different distances. She got a Fitbit for Easter which has helped her calculate how many steps and metres she is walking every day and she’s worked out that the more effort she puts in every day the sooner she will reach the finish line. It’s been great for Ava to take part in, but it’s also been a great help with home schooling, particularly maths.”

Since joining Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Ava has benefitted from the charity’s support programme, including respite holidays, Easter, Remembrance Day and birthday gifts and having the opportunity to meet other children in a similar situation at events such as the annual Christmas party.

Laura added: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the consistency of support from Scotty’s, whenever Ava sees a Scotty’s sticker come through the door her face lights up. They are always there for us. Christmas is a particularly hard time for us, as it’s when we lost Aaron, so the Scotty’s Christmas party is something we both look forward to. And it is not just Ava who has benefitted, I have also had the opportunity to meet other families and I am now friends with other mums who are in the same boat as us. I don’t know what we would do without them.”

Nikki Scott set up Scotty’s Little Soldiers after her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, was killed in Afghanistan the previous year, leaving behind two young children. The charity does lots of things to support its members, including providing access to the very best health and wellbeing care, offering outstanding development opportunities through a range of activity and educational grants, and Scotty’s helps put smiles back on those brave faces by organising events, providing respite breaks, posting them birthday and Christmas presents and remembering the anniversary of their parent’s death.

Usually, at this time of year, Scotty’s would be arranging respite breaks for the families, but sadly this isn’t possible at present. In recent weeks, the charity has had to adapt to the current climate and has been using modern technology and arranging exciting virtual events and activities to engage with its members as well as offering an increased level of emotional support to a great number of families who are struggling to cope with added pressures.

Nikki said: “What a challenge Ava has set herself. It is an incredible effort she has put in not only to travel the distance, but also to make a special card for Colonel Tom who has become a national hero over the last few weeks. We can’t thank Ava enough for what she’s doing to help raise money for Scotty’s, it’s because of fundraisers like Ava that we can keep offering bereaved Forces children the support they need and when they need it the most. We wish Ava the best of luck in completing her challenge.”

To donate to the Ava’s fundraiser visit: https://givepenny.com/capt-tom–virtual-delivery

Or to sign up for your own virtual fundraising event or challenge, go to: vf.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk

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