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“I always wish my dad was still here…” How I honour my military hero


Brooke Scott was only seven months old when her dad, Corporal Lee Scott of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan. In the aftermath of Lee’s devastating death, Brooke’s mum, Nikki Scott, set up Scotty’s Little Soldiers in his memory.

The charity’s mission? To give every bereaved British Forces child emotional support, outstanding development opportunities, and the chance to smile again.

Here, Brooke, now 15 years old, shares how it feels to grow up without her dad by her side, what’s Scotty’s means to her, and the profound impact that being a bereaved military child has on the lives on children and young people just like her.

Brooke holding a photo of her dad, Cpl Lee Scott

Feeling connected to my military dad

I don't remember anything about my dad as I was only a baby when he died, but what an amazing man I've been told he was! I love hearing all kind of stories about him. He never failed to make people laugh and brightened every room he entered. He was like a ball of happiness with a permanent cheeky grin. But when work needed to be done, he always made sure to do it and do it well. People often say I remind them of him, which I find really comforting. Even though I don’t remember him myself, it’s nice to know that when I take a step back and think about the way I am, I might also be seeing a glimpse of what my dad was like.

Brooke's dad, Corporal Lee Scott

I’ve always loved talking about him, and me and my nan will visit his grave together from time to time and we'll just sit and talk as if he was right there with us. I own a locket with his picture in, which I wear as a necklace so that he’s always with me. I also love dancing and have competed for Team UK in Macedonia and Poland. Dancing gives me a way to express my feelings when I can't put them into words. At those competitions, I always wish my dad was still here, so I could FaceTime him and tell him how I've done or to give him a hug after competing. I dance to make him proud.

Brooke wearing her dad's camo

What days do bereaved Armed Forces children find difficult?

When I was a kid, I would always make dad a card on Father’s Day and place it on his grave, but as I’ve got older I prefer to just sit and think. I think about the amazing life he had, the memories he made, the impact he had on others. I also like to look through old pictures of him and just reflect. Some years I struggle and some years I’m okay. My worst time is at night. I’ll sometimes end up thinking about how I'm never going to see him again and how I’ll miss out on things I’ve only dreamt about. Things like him walking me down the aisle, having him interrogate my future boyfriends and telling him he's going to be a grandad. Dad’s birthday and the anniversary of his death can also be really difficult. They’re only two weeks apart from each other, and I catch myself zoning out or getting angry much more easily than normal during that time.

Brooke by her dad's grave

My biggest role model

Scotty's has given me the strength to work through these issues, and it means everything. If dad could see everything the charity has done in his memory, I know he’d be so proud. My earliest memory of Scotty's is one of the first Christmas parties. We were in a warehouse with loads of fair rides and I remember having such a great time running around the funhouse. It's been amazing to watch the charity grow and see how much it was needed. It's honestly a privilege to say that my mum started it all; that during her grieving journey she was still thinking of others. I could write pages about how amazing my mum is. She's my biggest role model and teaches me the biggest life lessons. She's taught me about selflessness, dedication, patience, and the lifechanging impact that one person with the right mindset can have.

Brooke with her brother, Kai, and mum, Nikki

Meeting other bereaved children who understand

Scotty's has helped me smile again. It's helped me feel loved and understood and realise that I’m not alone; there are lots of other people who have been through the same thing as me. I've not met friends through Scotty’s, I've met family.  

My favourite Scotty's memory is hard to choose, as I've done so many things with the charity that I will treasure forever. Something I always love, though, is just getting together with other members and having a laugh, but also having those deep conversations that just naturally happen when bereaved military children are together. I always know that whoever I’m speaking to understands the way I’m feeling. 

Brooke and friends at Scotty's 2019 Christmas party

Why is keeping a military connection so important?

Scotty’s helps me keep a military connection, which is so important to me, especially because I didn't have long with my dad. I think it's important for kids who grew up in a military environment to not be ripped away from that as soon as their military parent dies. It’s a huge part of our lives, and keeping that connection allows you to feel connected to the parent you’ve lost.  

I joined the Scotty’s Council to be a voice for bereaved military children and share these kind of thoughts and feelings with people who have the power to make a difference. At Scotty's they believe in giving the children a voice, and Scotty's Council is how we get that voice heard.

Brooke saluting in her dad's beret

Why Scotty’s means so much to me

Scotty’s means the world to me. Without Scotty's I would not be the person I am today and would still believe I was all alone. When I’m at home and see my mum sat on her laptop, still working at 9pm, I feel so proud to be part of this great charity. Scotty’s Little Soldiers makes such a difference in our lives. I’ve met so many people who all understand what I’ve been through, and there’s constant support whenever we need it right up until we’re 25 years old. Because of Scotty's, no bereaved British Forces child has to feel alone.

Brooke Scott

About Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity dedicated to supporting children and young people, 0 to 25 years, who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.

Inspired by the experience of Army widow Nikki Scott, following the death of her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, in Afghanistan in 2009, the charity, which was set up in 2010, provides support and guidance to hundreds of bereaved military children and young people throughout their childhood.

When a young person joins Scotty’s, they become a member and are supported until their 25th birthday. Whether it be one-to-one bereavement support, a respite break with the family, an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation, or access to extracurricular activities, Scotty’s is always there for its members to ensure they don’t feel alone.

Scotty’s currently support over 670 bereaved military children and young people and has a long-term goal to support over 1,000 children annually by 2030.

If you know a bereaved military child who could benefit from Scotty’s Little Soldiers support, visit our Get Support page for more information.

Brooke holding a photo of her dad


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