Hero of the month… Staff Sergeant Adrian Templer 1980 - 2010
Finding out he was going to be a dad was the happiest day of Staff Sergeant Adrian Templer’s life. He and his fiancé, Laura Knight, were over the moon when they found out they were expecting a baby. As described by his Laura as someone who “loved life,” having a child for Adrian was going to be the next chapter in his life.
Adrian and Laura welcomed their little girl, Zoe, into the world on 21st May 2008, and the pair were besotted from the moment they met her. Adrian was so proud of his little girl, and he spent as much time as possible with her in between tours. However, that time was sadly cut short just two years after Zoe was born. At just 29 years old, Adrian was involved in an accident while riding his motorbike to work and was killed.
A few years after his death, Zoe joined Scotty’s Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved Forces children and young people. The charity has been a pillar of support to Zoe throughout her childhood and, this month, Scotty’s pays tribute to her father and hero.
Although he had quite an adventurous streak, Adrian’s fiancé Laura, said he was a family man at heart. She said: “He loved his family, having Zoe was the best day of his life, he was so excited about finally getting to meet her and we’d always talk about the things we’d do with her as she got older. He was a fantastic dad.”
Adrian’s mum, Pat, who is very close to her granddaughter, Zoe, said: “Adrian was chuffed to bits when Zoe was born, that was definitely one of the proudest moments of his life. Zoe has so many of Adrian’s traits, particularly his sense of humour, she’s always playing jokes on my other grandchildren, exactly as her dad would have done.”
The Armed Forces was Adrian’s calling from a very early age, he joined the Army in 1997 at just 17 years old and worked his way up to Staff Sergeant. At the time of his death, Adrian was a vehicle Artificer, serving with the 3 Yorks Warminster.
It was on 22nd June 2010, while on his way to work, that Adrian’s motorbike collided with a heavy goods vehicle which sadly killed him instantly.
At the time, Laura gave a heartfelt tribute to her fiancé. She said: “Adrian was a true rock and a lovely father, son and brother and a friend to all.”
Laura and Adrian were looking forward to a long happy life together and were due to get married not long after he died. On 22nd June, however, her life was turned upside down. Zoe was just two years old and unable to fully understand what had happened to her daddy. However, as she has grown up, she has started to ask more questions and wants to know more about the man and hero her dad was.
Laura said: “Zoe and I talk about Adrian a lot, she has lots of photos of him. Her grandma, Adrian’s mum, will tell her lots of stories about what he was like. Zoe is like him in so many ways.”
Zoe who is now 13 years old added: “I know my dad loved music, especially The Killers, whenever one of their songs comes on everyone always says, ‘your dad loved this song’, so it always makes me think of him.”
Adrian was also a big football fan and, from a young age, would go and watch Swindon Town with his family. His mum Pat said: “I have so many memories of going to watch Swindon Town with Adrian, he loved it. He was also very adventurous and loved doing some really crazy things like bungee jumping, diving, boxing, hockey, and he also achieved his life guard qualification. He was a bit of a daredevil really.”
Laura recalls his great sense of humour, she said: “Adrian loved having fun, and we had so many good times together. He had the ability to make anyone smile, if there was ever anything wrong, he’d always say ‘well it could be worse’.
As well as a fun side, there was also a serious side to Adrian. Having joined the Army at such a young age, Laura and Pat said he worked incredibly hard to get to where he was before he died. Laura said: “Adrian loved his job; he was so committed and proud of what he had achieved. Being promoted to Staff Sergeant was one of his biggest achievements professionally.”
For Zoe, growing up without her dad and having very few memories of their time together, has been particularly difficult, however her family have always been there to share stories whenever she wants to hear them. Zoe said: “I look at photos of my dad all the time, we have a big box of photos and some of my dad’s things, like his hat, that I like to look through. My family are always telling me stories about him, and I get told a lot that I’m really like him, which I love hearing.”
For the last 10 years Zoe has been supported by Scotty’s Little Soldiers. The charity has been a big part of her life and she and her mum have also helped raise much needed funds to help other children just like Zoe get the support they need.
Zoe said: “Scotty’s means so much, they have always been there for me, and I’ve loved going to the Christmas parties, going on holiday and the vouchers and presents they send me. I always know they’re there if I need them.”
Laura added: “Scotty’s has been incredible over the years, which is why both Zoe and I try to raise money every year, as a way of giving back. For Zoe, it’s comforting for her to know that Scotty’s are there and that she’s not the only child going through this. Through Scotty’s she’s had the opportunity to meet many other children who, like her, have very few memories of their dad. That has been a great reassurance for her and helps remind her that she’s not alone.”