Supporting forces' children
Losing a parent whilst they are serving in the Armed Forces can be hugely traumatic for children and that’s why the Veterans’ Foundation will play a part in supporting these youngsters.
Earlier this year it was revealed a five-year-old boy had developed post-traumatic stress disorder after finding out, while watching television, that his father had been killed by the Taliban.
The youngster, now 11, learned his father had died in a bomb blast as he watched the news on Christmas Eve six years ago.
The traumatic discovery led to the boy becoming withdrawn and he stopped eating, struggled to sleep and refused to go to school.
Doctors dismissed his mother’s concerns, saying her son’s symptoms were as a result of him playing on too many video games.
After years of suffering, his diagnosis only came when he was referred to a military medic. His mother said: ‘I remember him crying saying, “Can Santa bring my daddy back, I don’t want my presents. I just want my daddy”.
Lance Corporal Tommy Brown, a Paratrooper who served with a Special Forces unit, was killed on foot patrol with Afghan troops in Helmand province in 2009.
His wife had been told about his death by the Army but had tried to keep the news secret over Christmas to spare their son’s distress. But on Christmas Eve the youngster saw the news by accident and realised his father was dead.
That’s why charities such as Scotty’s Little Soldiers play a vital role in supporting families and children.
Scotty's Little Soldiers is dedicated to supporting the children of men and women killed whilst serving in the British Armed Forces.
Army widow, Nikki Scott, set up the charity in August 2010 to help the children our fallen heroes leave behind after her own husband Corporal Lee Scott was killed in Afghanistan, in July 2009.
The charity provides opportunities for the children to smile again by offering holidays at Scotty Lodges, gifts at difficult times of the year, special experiences and an amazing Christmas party.
As well as these fun activities, the charity also provides access to professional bereavement counselling and a range of grants to help with the children’s personal development. These grants can cover the cost of music lessons, swimming clubs, after school activities, driving lessons and even University tuition fees.
The charity now supports hundreds of bereaved British Forces’ children across the UK, many of whom are still very young and will rely on the activities offered by Scotty’s for years to come.