Charity founder Nikki Scott has spoken of the “pain that never goes away” on the 11th anniversary of losing her soldier husband.
Today (Friday) is the day Corporal Lee Scott died aged 26 while serving in Afghanistan.
The tragedy was the inspiration behind Ms Scott going on to set up King’s Lynn-based Scotty’s Little Soldiers the following year.
Now a charity which helps hundreds of children nationwide, its mission has always been to put smiles back on the faces of children and young people who have lost a parent serving in the armed forces.
Ms Scott said: “It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years since Lee was taken. The pain never goes away and he is missed every day. Watching our children grieve for him is heart wrenching. I know he’d be so proud of them, though.
“Last year I was looking though Lee’s old notebook and he had scribbled a note saying, ‘we will make life better’.
“It felt so poignant, like a message from Lee telling me that he was proud of the charity and what we are doing to support bereaved forces kids.”
Cpl Scott was on tour with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment in Helmand Province in 2009 when his convoy hit a roadside bomb, killing him and seven others.
Ms Scott, who met her husband when she was working in a Lynn pub, was left with children Kai, aged five at the time, and seven-month-old Brooke.
Brooke has no memories of her dad, but treasures a CD recording of her favourite story he made before leaving for Afghanistan.
Ms Scott founded Scotty’s Little Soldiers after seeing the impact the tragedy had on her own children, who have both grown up being part of the Scotty’s special community.
This year Scotty’s, based in Bergen Way in North Lynn, celebrates its 10th anniversary and, like all other charities, it has had to adapt its work and find alternative fundraising initiatives due to the pandemic.
The charity helps youngsters in a variety of ways. It provides educational grants, access to health and wellbeing care, fun activities and events including a Christmas party, gifts at difficult times of the year and much-needed respite breaks.
A recent appointment of a new staff member as a programme co-ordinator will allow the charity to offer more support with education and personal development for young people up to the age of 25.
Volunteers and fundraisers play a key role in the work of charity, which has been backed by actors and television celebrities including former SAS soldiers Ant Middleton and Mark “Billy” Billingham.
Prince Harry has also supported the charity, which was chosen as one of seven beneficiaries from his wedding to Meghan Markle.
Find out more about Scotty’s and how you can help at: www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk