“It’s the milestones you hit as you get older when you realise you still need that support”

2020-12-22

Former Scotty member, Beth Wood, explains why Scotty’s Little Soldiers and its support network has been integral as she’s grown up

Beth Wood was just 15 years old when her dad, Staff Sergeant Glyn Hole, died in a car accident outside his barracks in Aldershot. At that moment, her life came crashing down.

Sergeant Hole died on 21st September 2010 and for Beth, this event changed her life completely.

Joining Scotty’s Little Soldiers in 2010 when she was 15 years old, Beth was one of the first and oldest members of the charity when it was first established in the same year.

Beth, now 25, has grown up with Scotty’s by her side, and as a result she has helped shape many of our programmes, more recently our Springboard Programme for members 19 – 25 years old.

Here, Beth opens up about losing her dad at such a young age, and how Scotty’s has been a constant pillar of strength throughout her childhood and early adulthood.

On 21st September 2010, my whole life came crashing down on me when two police officers turned up at my door to tell me that my dad had been involved in a car accident and killed. I was only 15, and just couldn’t process what had happened.

I really struggled to come to terms with the situation, the fact that I would never see my dad again, it just didn’t seem real.

I kept imagining that my joker of a dad would re-appear, and everything would go back to normal. It felt like he was away on tour until I didn’t get the weekly phone calls telling me how he’s going to bring me back a bag of sand and how many pranks he’d played that week.

I heard about Scotty’s Little Soldiers, and decided to get in touch, firstly about what support was available and also to put my name forward to fundraise. The reply I got made my day, it read “become a member”.

I received my Scotty’s welcome pack on Father’s Day, just before I went to visit dad’s grave, and I told him all about the charity, its amazing work and how I planned to help. Then, every year, I received Christmas gifts as well as vouchers on dad’s anniversary of his death and Remembrance Sunday.

It was the small, subtle things that meant the most to me. Things like the emotional support through texts, phone calls and hugs when I was having bad days and missing my dad.

As I’ve grown up, Scotty’s has always been there for me. And I’ve become more involved with the charity over the years, particularly in helping and volunteering at the Christmas Party every year.

I left Scotty’s when I was 19, but always wanted to do what I could to give back for everything they’ve done for me over the years.

For me, it was the support that Scotty’s provided that meant the most. Even as a teenager, having just lost my dad and then starting to think about my GCSEs was incredibly difficult, but Scotty’s helped me through.

They always knew how I was feeling. I had no friends who had lost a parent and that can feel quite isolating, but Scotty’s knew what I was going through and understood. 

As I’ve grown up, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other members, especially the younger members and I’ve become good friends with many of the families supported by the charity.

I’ll be forever grateful to Scotty’s for the support they gave me in helping me get to University. The Higher Education Grant that I received meant I was able to go to University to study photography without too many money worries.

I’ve found that there are certain milestone as you grow up where that support is still needed, for example, when you go to University, one of the first things people ask you is “what do your mum and dad do for a living?” and you really have no idea how to answer.

Having that support network, even as you become an adult, is so important, no-one understands quite like Scotty’s do. There are certainly times even now I’m in my 20s that I have a moment and Scotty’s has always said just to pick up the phone.

As you become an adult milestone events like buying your first home or renting your first home are experiences where you just need some advice, and when you would normally perhaps turn to your dad. But for me, having Scotty’s and that group of people there to turn to has been invaluable. 

It's for milestones such as these that Scotty’s Springboard is so important.

 

I do believe that if Scotty’s didn’t exist, I would be a completely different woman and would probably still be finding it difficult to move on with my life. I can’t change what has happened, nobody can, but when you have the emotional and physical support like I have received from this amazing charity, I know that it’s OK to smile. I’m not on my own and it’s OK to move on with my life as I have the memories safe in my heart."

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