Around the time of Remembrance this year, there will be children across the UK thinking of a lost parent who served in the armed forces. Those youngsters and their families had nowhere to turn for support until nearly 10 years ago, when Nikki Scott founded a charity inspired by the death of Lee, her husband and her children’s father, in Afghanistan. Ever since, Scotty’s Little Soldiers has been giving bereaved forces families the wraparound support she found was missing when she needed it most.
Nursery worker Nikki and Corporal Lee Scott married in 2008 and moved with their son Kai to Tidworth army garrison in Wiltshire. It was just a year later, after five-year-old Kai had been joined by his sister Brooke, seven months, that Lee was killed by a roadside bomb while on tour. The lives of Nikki and the children were thrown into turmoil, and it was when she was navigating her grief that Nikki realised there was a key element missing in the support she was offered.
“We had a family visiting officer from the army who helped until we moved out of the army house, and groups like the Army Widows’ Association contacted me,” says Nikki. “But I remember thinking, when is someone going to get in touch about my kids? Who do I chat to about them? The way Lee died, and the fact that he was already away, were difficult to explain to the kids.”
We're so proud of the impact of our #Reconnect video and the amazing bravery of Paul and Brooke that we entered it in the @Charityfilms Awards. If you were moved by it we'd love you to consider voting by clicking here: https://t.co/mt7XLvErV9
— Scotty's L Soldiers (@CorporalScotty) October 28, 2019
It sank in nine months later when Nikki and her children were on holiday with family. “I felt a lot of guilt about how I shouldn’t do something like that, [because] it was too soon,” she explains. “But I saw Kai laughing for the first time since his dad had died and saw it was exactly what he needed. I wondered how many kids had lost a parent who was serving but had no support.”
On returning home, Nikki researched what was out there and was shocked to find there was nothing dedicated to the bereaved children of servicemen and women.