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“Look for me in the stars..." Remembering our RAF hero


On the 22nd of November 2021, 42-year-old Sgt Thomas Pike died from health complications caused by COVID-19. His children, Isabella, Oliver and Evie, were 10, 8 and 3. Their dad, an Aircraft Engineer who served at RAF Coningsby, was known for his love of rugby, Star Wars and, above all, his family.

Here, Tom’s children and his wife, Amanda, share the devastating impact the Tom’s death had on the family, and how support from Scotty's Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved British Forces children, has helped them learn to cope without their much-loved husband and father by their side.

Isabella, Oliver and Evie holding a photo of their dad

We never stop remembering him

“We remember Tom in lots of ways,” says his wife, Amanda. “All around our house you’ll see stars stuck everywhere, and that's because as my husband was going to sleep, he said ‘look for me in the stars’. The kids and I also like doing lots of things together that their daddy enjoyed, like making food he liked, watching Star Wars – which he absolutely loved – and then just watching videos of him having fun with us all. Outside of that, we talk about him non-stop and always involve him in everything we do. We never stop remembering him.” 

When Star Wars wasn’t on the TV, Tom could be found watching the rugby instead – and he’s passed his love of the sport on to all three children.  

“He loved rugby and whenever we watched a match together he always used to pick us up and dance around with us when we scored,” says Oliver. “He was my rugby coach since I was four.” 

Five-year-old Evie, Tom’s youngest child, says: “If I could say one more thing to Daddy, I'd tell him that I love him and I miss him.”

Sgt Thomas Pike

The power of support

Many bereaved military children and young people report feelings of loneliness and isolation following the death of their parent. When a bereaved child joins Scotty’s, the very first thing we want them to know is that they’re not alone. We do this in various ways, from sending gifts and vouchers to providing respite breaks and fun activities with other bereaved military children who can all understand each other’s experiences.  

“Scotty’s have offered so much support,” says Amanda. “Being able to contact them any time and have the kids speak to somebody if they’re struggling makes such a difference. As well as being around peers that have all experienced the same thing. Then there’s the Scotty respite breaks, which are always lovely, and knowing it’s provided by Scotty’s gives the whole thing another little boost."

Tom and the kids at the beach

"We’ve had this awful, awful thing happen to us, but the holidays give us a chance to enjoy some special time together and fun memories we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. On the kids birthdays and the anniversary of Tom's passing, we get vouchers and cards come through the door from Scotty’s. It’s a lovely little touch and brings a really nice energy to the house.” 

Earlier this year, rugby fan Oliver (11) even got to live out one of his dreams thanks to Scotty’s. 

“I went to Twickenham to be a mascot for the England women's rugby team,” he says. “Scotty signed me up and I just got randomly picked! It was a really fun experience. I got to stand next to the players and run around with everyone and sing the national anthem in the stadium.”

Oliver in his rugby outfit

Educational support for bereaved military children

It’s common for bereaved military children to experience issues in their education setting, from dealing with difficult, death-related topics to overhearing insensitive remarks. This is why we’ve introduced StandBy, which aims to help Scotty’s members and any bereaved military child to feel sensitively supported at school and any other education setting. No young person should be disadvantaged because of their bereavement. 

“Having that constant contact is great,” says Amanda. “I don't have to go searching the Internet to find somebody that the kids can speak to, as I just know that the Scotty’s team are always there. They really helped with Isabella’s transition to secondary school, and when Oliver starts in September I know there will be that support for him as well. Scotty’s also send us the most amazing packs to share with the schools, reminding the kids teachers that they’re bereaved military children, that talking about things like war and Remembrance might affect them differently. I know that the head teacher for the children's primary school was really impressed by the support that was in place, and so grateful to us for sharing it as it was something they hadn’t considered before.”

Tom and Isabella

Scotty’s members are split by year group, and we hold optional online sessions for everyone in that year group to have fun and get to know each other. This means our members are always able to meet other bereaved military children and young people the same age as them, all going through similar life experiences at the same time.  

“Oliver is also changing school at the same time as lots of his Scotty friends, so it’s lovely for him to be able to connect with all those people who are all going into this big, scary new arena at the same time.”

Tom with Oliver and Isabella

One big, military family

“Scotty’s reminded us that we're part of the military family. For so long, you take it as a given that you’re part of this military community, but when your partner dies, everything changes. You have to leave your military home if you're in one, and you leave behind so many of those links to your previous life. It can feel very isolating. But then Scotty’s came along and brought us right back into this new military family. It’s a massive support for the children and so gratefully received. Just seeing the smiles on their faces and the effort that Scotty’s go to for them is incredible.” 

13-year-old Isabella adds: “Scotty’s supports a lot of kids that are like me, with parents who served in the military but aren’t alive anymore, so it's filled with people that I can relate to. It makes me feel like I'm not so alone.”

Amanda and her family

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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