Before you go, will you pledge your support for bereaved military children? It's FREE and takes less than a minute. Take the Scotty's Pledge today.

Take The Scotty's Pledge

Join thousands who have already pledged their support for bereaved military children.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails.
We use CampaignMonitor as our marketing platform. By clicking ‘subscribe’, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to CampaignMonitor for processing.


Cycling 1500 miles home for bereaved military children


On Tuesday the 28th May, Alex Marren began an incredible month-long cycle across the UK. He started at John O’Groats, the country’s most northerly point, and will be travelling all the way down to Land’s End, Cornwall, near to his home county of Devon.

Rather than follow roads and motorways, Alex, who grew up in a military household, has planned a 2,500-kilometre (1553 mile) route that will take him through much of the British countryside. Along the way, he will be completing sketches, which will be given away to interested donors to his fundraiser. All in support of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved military children.

Alex Marren

£2,500 for 2,500 kilometres

“The idea first came to me after I injured my leg playing sport. I was stuck on the sofa, recovering from surgery, I kept dreaming about my home back in the South West” says Alex, who lives and works in Singapore. “I’m almost nostalgic for a Britain I’ve never really known. I think about it in little vignettes and images of places I’ve maybe never even actually seen. When I think about the South West, where I grew up, I think about seas and cliffs and glades and tracks, sun-drenched fields and getting lost. I want to discover that version of the British Isles that lives in my head.”

In order to stay as true to his vision as possible, Alex is keen to avoid big roads and motorways, and has planned a route which keeps largely to the English countryside. 

“For me, a big part of the appeal of this challenge is to really get lost in England and Scotland. To be away from the hustle and bustle of the digital world. My original target was £500, but I’ve had some really generous donations and already met it, so now I’m thinking it’d be great to raise £1 for every kilometre. The journey itself is about two and a half thousand kilometres, so I’d love to raise two and half thousand pounds to match it!”

Growing up as a military child

Both of Alex’s parents served in the Armed Forces and their family frequently moved from place to place – a lifestyle which was very influential.

“I started sharing my idea with friends and three separate people said, ‘why don’t you raise money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers?’ I did a bit of research and the charity really resonated with me. Both my parents served in the military and we moved around a lot, and I remember my dad being off on operational tours and that kind of thing. For me, raising money for Scotty’s is a way of giving back to a community that made me who I am.”

He continues:

“I remember being around seven or eight years old and hearing my mum on a phone call, sounding quite upset. My dad and his friend, Mark, were both serving in Afghanistan. Mark was a family friend, and we’d just been on holiday together in Menorca. The person on the phone was my dad, telling my mum how the helicopter Mark was riding in had malfunctioned and crashed. Mark had died, along with some other soldiers on the same flight. It was a real sliding doors moment for me. I saw the pain Mark’s death caused and all I could think was how sudden it seemed, and how it could have been my dad. If he had been in that helicopter, I could have been a member of Scotty’s, too.”

Sketching the journey

In preparation for his challenge, Alex purchased a custom, handcrafted bicycle from a craftsman in Malaysia, which he cycled back into Singapore. 

“I cycle a fair amount and have biked various routes In Cornwall, Norfolk, places like that, but I’ve never done a cycle like this across the whole country. Some of the kit I’ll be using has been made my people I’ve met and know in real life, rather than just a faceless company, which is quite important to me. It’s all part of that desire to experience the real, analogue world.”

The same can be said about Alex’s sketches, which he plans to complete daily. 

“If someone donates and is particularly interested in one of the sketches, I’ll send it to them. I want to sketch a scene from my route or something connected to the ride each day if I can. I just want to disconnect, ride my bike and draw what I see while raising money for a really worthwhile cause.”

About Scotty’s

Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a military 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.    

Scotty’s currently support over 670 bereaved military children and young people. Services offered include access to child bereavement support, guidance to parents and carers, 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.    

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


We use cookies for marketing analytics