Charity set up by wife of King’s Lynn soldier killed in Afghanistan opens first holiday home in Great Yarmouth
A charity which helps the children of fallen service men and women is opening the first of a planned network of holiday homes across the UK.
Scotty's Little Soldiers is named after King's Lynn soldier Cpl Lee Scott, 26, who was killed by a roadside bomb while serving in Afghanistan with the Tank Regiment, in 2009.
The charity, run by his widow Nikki, has raised more than �100,000 to pay for its first property in Great Yarmouth. Dubbed Scotty Lodges, the holiday homes will enable the children and their families to take much-needed breaks, free of charge, at seaside resorts.
The first to open is three-bedroom lodge at the Haven Seashore Holiday Park in Yarmouth, Norfolk, which sleeps eight.
'We chose Seashore as the site for our first lodge because it has absolutely everything a child could want while on holiday, with so many activities to keep them entertained,' said Mrs Scott.
'The lodge itself is out of this world. I can't wait to send our first members there. It's been a hard but amazing journey so far and I am so proud of everyone who has helped make this possible.'
The cash has come from nearly two years of fundraising from sponsorship, donations, balls, events and fun runs. The charity will continue to provide days out, plus birthday and Christmas gifts, but the opening of the first holiday lodge is the first major milestone since Mrs Scott started the charity after seeing the reaction of her own children, eight-year-old Kai and three-year-old Brooke, to a holiday to Turkey after the death of their father.
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'When we were away, I saw Kai laughing the way he'd laughed before Lee died,' said Mrs Scott, from Lynn. 'I realised it was the first time I'd really seen him laugh for months. He hadn't been the same little boy – there was a constant sadness in his eyes.
'It was as if getting away from the house meant that we could put our grief on hold and relax for the first time. I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and for the first time, that there was hope for the future.'
Each lodge will come equipped with a fully-stocked fridge, toys, and games and visitors will have access to all the park's facilities.