Welsh Forces family take on 22 day challenge in memory of Royal Marine hero dad

CHARLTON TAKES ON 22 DAY CHALLENGE IN MEMORY OF ROYAL MARINE DAD

Ten-year-old Charlton Taylor and his family, from Rhyl in North Wales, are using their time in lockdown to raise money for two charities close to their hearts.

Charlton, along with his mum, Sonia Fleming, and brother, Ethan (23), have challenged themselves to complete 10 challenges in 22 days to raise money for two charities that have been a huge support to them over the years, and to mark the 10th anniversary of their dad’s death.

Royal Marine, Lance Corporal Michael Taylor served in the 40 Commando and was killed in Afghanistan on 22nd June 2010. He left behind three children, Charlton, Ethan, and Wesley, who were just 10 months old, 13 and 11 years old respectively at the time of his death.  Since losing their dad, the boys have received vital support from bereaved Forces children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

The boys were some of the first children to join the charity when it was established in 2010. They have decided to raise money to help the charity in this difficult time and to do it in their dad’s name. The family are also raising money for local football club, Rhyl Commandos JFC, which was set up in Michael’s memory.

Starting their challenges on 1st June, Charlton and his mum Sonia have tasked themselves with completing 10 challenges over 22 days, finishing on Michael’s anniversary – 22nd June.

Each day the challenge is something different, to date these have included – 10,000 steps, 10 laps on the field close to their home, singing 22 songs on one day and 22 card games.

Parallel to them, Charlton’s older brother Ethan is completing his own challenge, which includes cycling 22 miles and a 22-mile run in 22 days.

Commenting on the challenge, Sonia said: “This year is 10 years since we lost the most important man in our lives. Every year we do a fundraiser to celebrate and remember Michael’s life and this year it was going to be an extra special one but with everything going on we can’t! So instead we decided to raise money for two charities that mean so much to us. Charlton is very much leading the challenge; it’s been a great way to keep him and me occupied during lockdown and given us a reason to get out of the house.”

 Since joining Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Charlton, Ethan, and Wesley have benefited from the charity’s support programmes, including the opportunity to meet other children in similar situations.

Sonia added: “Scotty’s means so much to the boys, now that Ethan and Wesley are in their 20s, they are no longer members but they still want to do what they can to help. Everyone at Scotty’s and the families it supports know what the children have been through, they’ve experienced it for themselves and being able to talk to people who understand is so important. Me and the boys know they are there whenever we need them and that means so much.”

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: “This is such a difficult year for Sonia and the boys, and I’m honoured that they’ve decided to help Scotty’s and raise money in Michael’s name. I know how difficult poignant anniversaries such as this are for the family, especially the children, so I’m extremely grateful to the whole family for getting behind Scotty’s and helping us through this unprecedented time. Our members need us more than ever at the moment, so every penny raised means we’re able to continue to deliver a high-level of support and remind our members that they are not alone.”

To donate to Charlton and Sonia’s fundraiser visit: https://bit.ly/2BSC7XI

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

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