Over 35 supporters went the extra mile last month, taking part in the Tour De Scotty challenge and raising £8,601 in the process.

Supporters raise over £8,000 through Tour De Scotty

The challenge was launched by the charity for the first time this summer as a way of boosting fundraising during lockdown. The aim of the challenge was to complete a 300-or 600-mile cycle throughout June, either indoors or outdoors, while following Government guidelines.

Everyone who raised money received a prize – those who raised £50 received a Scotty’s morale patch, those who raised £100 received a special Tour De Scotty Medal and those who raised £150 received a free cycling shirt. And everyone who reached their target miles, received a special Tour De Scotty certificate.

For a number of fundraisers, this challenge had a more personal connection with many riding in honour of a fallen loved one, or in support of a Scotty member who had lost a parent serving in the Armed Forces.

For Paula Wilce, from Gloucester, this challenge was extra special, she was cycling not only to raise money for Scotty’s but also for her son, Private Ross Standing, and the three young children he left behind.

Private Ross Standing who was 27, died in a car accident in July 2019 leaving behind three young children, Luca (8), Nyla (3) and Amaya (1). Since his death, the children have been supported by Scotty’s Little Soldiers, and Paula wanted to do what she could to help the charity that has been there for her grandchildren over the last year.

On top of losing her son, Paula has had her own health battle to fight and has found exercise to be a great healer. Across the month Paula cycled a total of 302.5 miles raising £185 in her son’s name.

She said: “I keep hearing what Scotty’s are doing, and I fundraise because I know that if I’m helping the charity, then I’m helping my grandchildren. The team at Scotty’s are always reminding the children that they are there for them.

They received Easter eggs in April, my two granddaughters have been to Butlins, they get birthday cards, and the team always check in on the kids and are making sure they know they are there for them. This month is the anniversary of Ross’ death, and I know the children have received vouchers. Throughout lockdown there has been constant contact and checking in with them, too.”

Like Paula, Scotty’s friend and supporter, Lee Cox from Worcester also had a much greater reason for taking on the challenge. The former soldier was not only cycling to raise money for Scotty’s but also his close friend and former comrade, Dave Oates, who passed away earlier this year, aged 49.

Dave left behind a young son, Ned, who has recently become a member of Scotty’s Little Soldiers. In honour of his close friend, Lee donated his Tour De Scotty cycling shirt, medal, and certificate to Ned.

Across the month, Lee cycled 374.5 miles and raised £525 to help Scotty’s Little Soldiers continue to offer a high level of support to children, like Ned, up and down the country.

Lee said: “Scotty’s Little Soldiers is such a great charity and we always do what we can to keep raising money. Due to what’s happening in the world at the moment, it’s incredibly hard for charities to maintain their levels of funding, so whatever we can do, we will do, to make sure that Scotty’s stays in the lives of the children it supports.”

A number of other fundraisers took part in the challenge, with some really pushing themselves to the limit and going way above the 600-mile mark. Former RAF Physical Training Instructor, Dominic O’Sullivan from Derbyshire, took part in the challenge as a warmup for his World Record cycling attempt in July. In total Dominic cycled 913.5 miles throughout the month coming second on the leader board to Paul Sweeney, who completed a total of 1,007.9 miles throughout the month.

Founded in 2010, Scotty’s Little Soldiers was set up by war widow Nikki Scott 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 educational support, and delivering outstanding development opportunities through a range of activity and educational grants. Scotty’s also helps put smiles back on those brave faces by providing respite breaks, posting the children  birthday and Christmas presents and remembering the anniversary of their parent’s death, as well as arranging events where bereaved Forces children from all over the UK come together to have a great time and form friendships with kids in the same situation.

In recent months, the charity has had to adapt to the current climate and has been using modern technology to arrange exciting virtual events and activities to engage with its members, ensuring them that in uncertain times such as these they are not alone. They’ve also been providing a high volume of wellbeing support to families who are suffering from enhanced anxiety and other problems due to the current health crisis.

Fundraisers have taken to using the recently set up virtual fundraising platform to continue raising funds through this difficult time, and July’s incentive is Choose you Own, encouraging fundraisers to support the charity in any way that they please.

Nikki said: “I’m so grateful to our supporters who have chosen to raise vital funds for us by taking on the Tour De Scotty challenge, especially in a time like this. It’s been remarkable to see how many miles some of our fundraisers have completed in just a month and the amount of money raised has been fantastic. The last few months have been incredibly difficult for our members, but it’s because of our supporters that we can continue to deliver such a high level of support when our members need it the most.”

To see how you could support Scotty’s Little Soldiers visit: http://scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk/

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

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