17-year-old Sophie Taylor, from Ashford in Kent, is taking on a parachute jump for a charity close to her heart.

ASHFORD TEEN TAKES ON PARACHUTE JUMP IN MEMORY OF HER HERO DAD

Sophie is preparing to take on a parachute jump with The Lightning Bolts (REME) Army Parachute Display Team in Wiltshire, to raise vital funds for national bereaved Armed Forces children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers. The jump was originally planned for the 25th April, however, due to the current health crisis, the event was cancelled. The REME team are starting to jump again, and Sophie is determined to raise money for the charity that over the last ten years has supported her through the toughest times in her life.

Sophie lost her dad, Corporal Marc Taylor, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004. He served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (1RHA). Since 2010, Sophie has found comfort in the support network created by Scotty’s Little Soldiers. The charity, which was founded in 2010 by war widow Nikki Scott, supports hundreds of children, just like Sophie, up and down the country.

Sophie said: “I’ve always wanted to do a parachute jump, and I thought that it’s a really good way to raise money for Scotty’s at the same time and give back. It’s my first parachute jump, and I’m really excited for it.”

Since joining Scotty’s Little Soldiers, Sophie has benefited from the charity’s support programmes, including financial support to be able to attend school trips, attending events like the annual Christmas party, receiving a card and voucher on the anniversary of her father’s death, and having the opportunity to meet other young people in similar situations and build fundamental friendships.

Liv Taylor, Sophie’s mum, added: “Sophie is an adrenaline junkie. She loves anything like this! She has fundraised for Scotty’s before, she’s done charity runs and stalls, but she’s never done anything as big as this. She’s hoping to raise £2000.”

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 providing respite breaks, organising events, posting them birthday and Christmas presents and remembering the anniversary of their parent’s death.

In recent months, 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 brave young woman Sophie is! I’m so pleased the parachute jump is something that she really wants to do, all while being able to raise essential funds for Scotty’s. I’m really thankful that our members, like Sophie, feel like they want to give back to us without fundraisers, we couldn’t carry out the vital work that we do to support children and young people just like Sophie.”

To donate to Sophie’s fundraiser visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sophietaylor09

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

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