Ben hopes his handmade soldier tealight holders will help raise hundreds for bereaved forces children 

SHINING A LIGHT FOR ARMED FORCES CHILDREN

37-year-old Ben Howson, from Oldfield in West Yorkshire, has been using his time in lockdown to get creative, and this month hopes to turn his hobby of making bespoke metal soldier tealight holders into a way of raising much needed funds for charity.

With charities being hit incredibly hard over the last few months, Ben wanted to do something to help a charity that’s particularly close to his heart – Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a national charity which supports hundreds of children, up and down the country, who have lost a parent while serving in the Armed Forces.

As someone who is always making something with his laser cutter, Ben decided to make a metal soldier tealight holder for his partner’s father, as a Remembrance Day gift last year. Ben said: “He always gets sad around Remembrance Day, especially when he starts thinking about the friends he’s lost, and I thought this would be a nice way to cheer him up.”

From there, Ben’s idea to create more soldiers developed and lockdown has given him the opportunity to expand and create a whole series of tealight holders that he can now sell and in turn raise money for a good cause.

With his partner’s father serving in the Army, Scotty’s Little Soldiers seemed like the perfect choice for his fundraising campaign.

Ben said: “My partner and her father are big supporters of Scotty’s Little Soldiers. The charity does some incredible work and I’m hoping I can do my bit to help raise money.”

Ben has started his soldier series with two styles which include a soldier tealight holder with a poppy, and a soldier tealight holder with a cross. Ben hopes to develop the styles as things progress.

Each tealight holder is priced at £29.99 and can be purchased from www.handmademetalwork.co.uk. A percentage of all sales will be donated to Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers was founded by war widow Nikki Scott 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 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.

Nikki said: “This is such a clever idea by Ben and what a great way to raise money. The tealight holders he’s made to date look fantastic. We can’t thank him enough for his support, particularly at this difficult time. The last few months have been challenging and it’s because of fundraisers like Ben that we’re able to continue to support our members and keep reassuring them that they are not alone.”

To purchase one of Ben’s soldier tealight figurines visit www.handmademetalwork.co.uk

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