Bereaved Forces Child To Take Part in Thames Bridge Trek to Mark World Suicide Prevention Day and to Raise Funds for Scotty’s Little Soldiers
“In such a small space of time Scotty’s has done so much for Jackson and it helps him to know he isn’t the only child going through this.”
The 10th of September marks World Suicide Prevention Day and this year’s theme is about “Creating Hope Through Action.” Every year, thousands of families and children in the UK are impacted by suicide, many of these are Forces children just like Jackson Womersley.
Jackson’s life was turned upside down almost a year ago. In November 2020, Jackson awoke to discover that his mum, Sergeant Amy Womersley, had taken her own life. Jackson, from Buckinghamshire, has spent the last 10 months adjusting to life without his mum, and during this time has found solace in the support provided by bereaved Forces children’s charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers.
To give back to the charity that has already offered him a huge amount of support, Jackson and his mum, Eileen, have decided to complete the Thames Bridge Trek – a 25km walk that includes 16 of London’s most historic bridges.
Taking place on 11th September, the day after World Suicide Prevention Day, Eileen explains what this event means to her and to Jackson. She said: “This walk is for Jackson, and for all of the children Scotty’s supports who have experienced the death of a parent at such a young age. Getting outside and walking is one of the best ways you can support your mental health, so when we started talking about taking part in a walking challenge Jackson immediately said he wanted to do it for Scotty’s.”
She added: “Jackson’s life changed forever when Amy took her own life. Amy and I weren’t together at the time, but it’s shaken our family to the core. No child should have to go through what Jackson has gone through.
“At first, I was afraid that what he’d been through would end up defining him, but since he’s joined Scotty’s, I know that’s not the case. In such a small space of time Scotty’s has done so much for Jackson and it helps him to know he isn’t the only child going through this.”
Scotty’s Little Soldiers was set up in 2010 by war widow Nikki Scott. The charity offers integral support to children and young people who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the Armed Forces.
Nikki saw the devastating impact the death of her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, in 2009 had on their two young children and wanted to help others in the same situation.
The charity is currently providing assistance to hundreds of bereaved Forces children and young people around the UK and services offered include guidance to parents and carers, access to professional child bereavement support, personal education and learning assistance (including grants) and fun activities such as holiday respite breaks and group events. These are all designed to remind the children and young people supported by Scotty’s that they are not alone.
Since joining Scotty’s, Jackson has received vital support, including support with his transition to high school. Eileen added: “Scotty’s support in helping Jackson get to the grammar school has been hugely beneficial. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Eileen, her partner Gemma and friend Chris, will all be joining Jackson in his challenge. So far, he’s raised £1,250 and has set himself a target of raising £2,000.
Scotty’s founder, Nikki Scott said: “Jackson is such an inspiration. He’s been through so much and I’m so glad the team at Scotty’s have been able to offer him support and we’ll continue to be here for him. Sadly, many of our members have experienced the death of a parent through suicide. There’s still a lot more that needs to be done to help prevent more deaths in the future, which is why days like World Suicide Prevention Day are so important. It’s incredible that Jackson is taking on this challenge, and I wish him loads of luck. Every penny he raises will enable us to continue to offer a high level of support to bereaved Forces children and young people when they need it the most.”