HEARTS FOR SMILES
Beth Wood is on a mission to create smiles and spread a bit of joy during these challenging times while also raising much needed funds for a charity very close to her heart.
The 24-year-old from Buckley in Flintshire, has recently started making handmade hearts for her local community. The hearts can be personalised and sent to a loved one, friend or family member to help spread a bit of love.
With each heart she creates, Beth asks for a small donation to be made to bereaved Armed Forces children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers – a charity that throughout her childhood was there for her when she needed it the most.
Beth lost her dad, SSGT Glyn Hole, in 2010, after he was killed in a road traffic accident outside his military base in Aldershot.
Beth was 15 years old when her dad was killed, and up until the age of 19, she received integral support from Scotty’s Little Soldiers, finding solace in the support network created by the charity.
Even in to adulthood, Beth has continued to do what she can to support the charity that she describes as her “tower of strength”, and her hearts for smiles initiative is just one of many fundraising activities she has done to raise money for the charity.
What started as a gift her for mum, has quickly become high demand across the town. Beth said: “As I’m unable to see my mum at the moment I decided to make her a heart. I put it on our local Facebook page, and I started to receive requests from people in the local community asking if I could make a heart for them. Each heart has a different message attached and it is a really nice way to let people know they are being thought of.”
Beth, who is currently living separately from her family due to work, knows how important it is, especially in the current climate, to know you are not alone. The time away from her mum, particularly on her dad’s birthday last month, has been incredibly hard for Beth.
She explains: “It’s so hard not being able to hug my family, especially now. It can feel very isolating living on your own but making the hearts has really helped. I have a real sense of pride in making them and seeing how much they help brighten up people’s day.”
As well as emotional support, over the years Beth has benefited from a range of support from Scotty’s, including gifts on her birthday and Christmas, vouchers on Remembrance Day, holidays, and a Higher Education Grant.
Beth added: “Scotty’s mean so much to me, it’s like a family and offers you a community where everyone supports one another and understands how each other is feeling. They are a charity extremely close to my heart and the team have been a tower of strength to me since losing my dad. I know that by supporting them I’m helping children who are currently going through some of the toughest times of their lives and need this support now more than ever.”
Nikki Scott set up Scotty’s Little Soldiers in 2010 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: “Beth has been a fantastic support to Scotty’s over the years and it’s lovely to see her continued involvement. She is a great inspiration to many of our members and most importantly knows exactly what these children are going through. We cannot thank her enough for what she’s doing to help raise money for Scotty’s, it’s because of fundraisers like Beth that we can keep offering bereaved Forces children the support they need and when they need it the most.”
To donate to Beth’s fundraiser visit: https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/hearts-for-smiles
Or to sign up for your own virtual fundraising event or challenge, go to: vf.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk