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“There are so many things I’d like to say to my dad..." How Scotty’s helped me after my Navy hero died by suicide


On the 24th of May 2020, LMEM Paul Crowther died by suicide. The 56-year-old veteran had served as a Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic in the Navy and was loved by all for his dedication, passion, and self-deprecating sense of humour. His daughter, Tuscany, was 13.

Four years on, Tuscany, now 17, shares the lifechanging impact of her dad’s death and how support from Scotty's Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved British Forces children, has helped her learn to cope without her fun-loving father by her side.

Tuscany holding a photo of her dad

Remembering my hero

My dad joined the military at 16, so he was even younger than I am now. The military was his passion and he threw himself into every facet of it. We have a lot of photos, and even though I don’t look at them very often as it can bring back some difficult feelings, I like knowing they’re always there if I want them. We also have so many of his belongings around the house, from quite serious stuff all the way to things like a large teddy bear in my room wearing one of his t-shirts. At special times of year, like his birthday and the anniversary of his death, me and my mum like to go to the place where he passed away and celebrate his life. We talk about him and share stories and eat his favourite food, even if it’s food we don’t like ourselves! 

Tuscany and her dad sharing a glance

It’s hard to pick a favourite memory of my dad as there are just so many, but something that comes straight to my mind is when we went to West Wittering beach one summer. I was around 12 and it was a very hot day. Dad was very clumsy, which is something he’s passed on to me, and while we were walking he completely snapped his flip-flop, and then when he tried to sit down and his shorts ripped. He spent the rest of the day stumbling around in half a flip-flop and trying to hide the fact his shorts were ripped and I remember all of us laughing so much.

Tuscany and her dad about to paddle

If I could speak to my dad one more time…

There are few times of year I find particularly difficult. Obviously there’s my dad's birthday and the anniversary of when he passed away, but over the last couple of years, there have been a few life milestones where I’ve really struggled, like finishing school and starting college. It’s very tough, but I like to think that he's looking down on me and feeling proud of everything I’ve done. 

There are so many things I'd like to say to my dad if he was still here, but in particular I’d like to talk to him about all the life changes I’ve experienced since he passed and to get his opinion on everything that’s been going on. I play saxophone in the Royal Marine Band Cadets, so I’d love to play the saxophone for him. I think that would be great fun and he’d really enjoy it.

Young Tuscany and her dad

Growing around grief

I’ve felt all kinds of emotions since my dad died, and they’ve all changed over time. When he first passed away, I just felt completely overwhelmed. Every emotion was heightened and it felt like everything was always spinning around me. As I’ve grown older, those emotions haven’t gone away, but I’ve learnt to deal with them. I think strength is such an important quality to have when dealing with the death of your parent. You’ve got to be strong for yourself, so that you can continue to grow. 

It helps to know that he was loved everyone who knew him, and that he always had that military family as well as us. With Scotty’s and my cadets, I feel like I've got that kind of military family as well. Being able to feel connected to my dad on that level means a lot to me, especially as I live close to a military base in Hampshire and the whole area has so many military links.

Tuscany and her dad

Always feeling supported

I don't think I would have been able to grow and adapt the way I have if I didn't have Scotty’s there to support me. I’m not someone who likes to talk openly about everything I’m thinking or feeling with family, so having Scotty’s support sessions and being able to just speak about my life to a third-party who understands is so helpful.

To me, Scotty’s feels like a family that’s there to support you with everything you need. Obviously, growing up as a bereaved military child, there are a lot of challenges, but Scotty’s help with all of it. In 2021, my mum and I went on an amazing trip to Sri Lanka with help of Scotty’s Super Grant, where I learnt so many amazing things, and I’m currently using the Scotty Allowance to have diving lessons at a local pool. Scotty’s grants have also helped me cover some of the cost of learning to drive a car. It's really nice, because it feels like, even though my dad's not physically here to help me with this stuff, in a way it feels like he’s always helping through the support Scotty’s provides.

Tuscany with her mum

Being a voice for bereaved military children

I’m part of Scotty’s Council, a group of Scotty’s Members who use their experiences as bereaved military children and young people to help guide the direction of the charity. 

My favourite thing I've done with Scotty’s is when the Council visited Sky HQ and we got to see how everything worked behind the scenes. I’ve had a passion for journalism, so seeing how it all happened behind the scenes of such a big company was amazing. Being part of Scotty’s Council means I can share my ideas on how Scotty’s can change and grow, while also acting as a voice for the other bereaved military children. For me, being able to represent other members is a responsibility I take very seriously, especially those younger members who are maybe still too unsure of themselves to speak up.

Tuscany with the Scotty's Council at Sky HQ

Connecting with people who understand

I've made a lot of friends through Scotty’s. I’m obviously friends with all of Scotty’s Council, but I’m also friends with lots of the younger members. Because we’ve all been through similar experiences, we can all connect regardless of how old we are. I also think it’s good for the younger members to have some older members to feel they can look up to and rely on and have that shoulder to cry on. 

I think my dad would be absolutely over the moon that I have that kind of support system. When he passed away, I was very fragile, but my Scotty’s family help build me up again to the person who I am today, and have given me so many ways to remember my dad and commemorate him.

Tuscany sat in the sun beside her dad

About Scotty’s

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.


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