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Scotty’s Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved military children and young people, has released new figures showing that each year approximately 2,100 children experience the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. In the lead up to Armed Forces Day, we have released a poignant video where bereaved military children share their personal stories of loss, pride, and how Scotty’s has helped them.

Highlighting the Growing Need for Support

Scotty’s estimates, based on new data in reliable national datasets including the 2021 Census and MoD data, that around 2,100 children each year are newly bereaved of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. So far this year, Scotty’s has already supported over 680 bereaved military children, so the charity is now embarking on a growth phase to ensure it can continue to offer efficient and effective services to an increasing number of beneficiaries, but this expansion cannot be achieved without additional funds.

Children share their stories

In a special new video released, our members honour their heroes and bravely share what it’s like growing up without their parents. They speak candidly about their pride in their parents' service and how Scotty’s has provided crucial support.

Elizabeth and Isabelle's Story

Elizabeth and Isabelle, who were just two and one when their dad, LNN Thomas Bovington, a Leading Naval Nurse in the Royal Navy, died from a genetic heart condition in 2016, share their ways of remembering him. Elizabeth says, “Sometimes we’ll just sit down, Mum will tell us stories about him, or we would look over old pictures and say, ‘Oh, this is what your dad did one night’.” Isabelle adds, “Because I was just a baby when he died, it helps me keep memories of him.” Talking about support from Scotty’s Elizabeth says, “Scotty’s Little Soldiers makes us feel like we’re not the only one who has lost a parent who worked in the military.”

Tuscany's Story

Tuscany, who was 13 when her dad, LMEM Paul Crowther, Leading Marine Engineering Mechanic in the Royal Navy, died by suicide in 2020, shares her journey: “He was always loved by the military and he always had that kind of military family as well as us as a family.” Reflecting on her grief, she says, “Although we don’t look through the photos all the time because it can bring back a lot of emotions, just knowing that they’re there and that I can look at them whenever I want, that’s quite important to me.” She acknowledges Scotty’s role in her growth: “I don’t think I would have been able to grow as a young person if I didn’t have Scotty’s there to support me.”

Isabella, Oliver and Evie's Story

Sgt Thomas Pike, an Aircraft Engineer in the RAF, was a father of three when he died in 2021 from Covid-19 complications. Thirteen-year-old Isabella, who was 10 when her dad died, fondly remembers: “He was always making people laugh and he was always joking about things.” Oliver (11) smiles as he shares his own memories: “Whenever we watched a rugby match and they scored, he used to pick us up and dance around with us.” Their younger sister, Evie, just three years old when their dad died, says that if she could say one more thing to her daddy, “I’d tell him I love him and miss him.” Speaking of support from Scotty’s, Isabella says: “It’s got a lot of kids that are like me, with parents that aren’t alive anymore that were in the military. So it’s filled with other kids that I can relate to and make me feel like I’m not so alone.”

Joshua's Story

Nineteen-year-old Joshua, whose dad, Lance Corporal Christopher Bradshaw who served in the Royal Intelligence Corps of the British Army, was killed in a car collision in 2011, talks about him with pride: “To know my dad served our country makes me feel proud.” Reflecting on his grief, Joshua says, “My dad died when I was six years old. I felt the way I dealt with that was not like a way I would have known in any way.” He emphasises the multifaceted support from Scotty’s: “Scotty’s is not just one line of support, it’s loads of different ways of support. Scotty’s Little Soldiers has and continues to support me every day.”

Brooke's Story

Brooke, who was only seven months old when her dad, Corporal Lee Scott from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009, speaks about growing up without memories of her dad: “My mum and brother, Kai, he was five when my dad died, and they tend to talk a lot about it. My brother will be in the supermarket and be like, ‘Oh, that was dad's favourite…’ I almost get a little bit jealous that he has those memories and I don’t.” When asked what she’d say to her dad, given the chance, she says, with tears in her eyes, “it’s so difficult because he’s missed 14 years, but just that I love him."

Pride from Scotty’s Founder

Scotty’s Founder, Nikki Scott, says: "I’m so proud of our members for sharing their stories and I’m so glad Scotty’s is able to support them and all our other members right up until their 25th birthday. It’s lovely to hear the difference Scotty’s makes to them.

“The new statistic showing that around 2,100 children each year are newly bereaved of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces is really significant, as until now we've not known the true scale of the need. We had a goal to work towards of supporting 1,000 children a year by 2030 but it is now clear we need to grow faster to support the children and families who are out there - to give them emotional support, development opportunities and the chance to smile again. And to do that we need funding. We are so grateful for any donations that will help us ensure we can provide the support that is needed."

About Scotty’s Little Soldiers

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.


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