How Scotty’s Little Soldiers helped after we moved to Norfolk
- Credit: courtesy of Caroline Spencer
In November 2009, Caroline Spencer from Norfolk lost her husband and the father of her two children, Andrew Spencer in a tragic motorcycle accident.
Petty Officer Andrew, 37, had served with the Navy for 21-years. Caroline relocated the family from Northamptonshire to Norfolk in 2012 and it was after moving to the area that she discovered children's armed forces charity, Scotty's Little Soldiers.
MORE - How Scotty's Little Soldiers grew from one woman's griefCaroline explains how Scotty's provides support to her son, Matthew aged 15 and 13-year-old daughter, Ellen.
'We moved to Norfolk in 2012 and it was once we'd moved to the area that we discovered Scotty's, after seeing a poster advertising the charity in a local shop.
'2012 was also the year that Matthew and Ellen started drum lessons, which they still undertake today at West Norfolk Academy of Music in Kings Lynn.
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'They're both very musical, which they get from Andrew. He was a keen drummer and had a full drum kit which they both practice on.
'The allowance Scotty's provides helps cover part of the cost, which is much appreciated,' explained Caroline.
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Caroline said both Matthew and Ellen are big sports enthusiasts and how the charity arranged an extra special experience.
'Both Matthew and Ellen are a mix of their father and me. They love sport. Matthew likes football and table tennis, whilst Ellen enjoys netball, rounders and basketball; anything really.
'Four years ago, Scotty's, aware that Matthew was a keen football fan, arranged for him to be a flag bearer at England's World Cup qualifier against Poland, which meant Matthew got to carry the England flag on to the pitch.
'It was an amazing opportunity for him, as he also got to watch the team practice when they first came out on to the pitch. Both Ellen and I had tickets to go to the match too and it was a day to remember for all of us.
'We've loved the holidays provided by Scotty's and have been on one every summer since we became members. We've been on a caravan holiday, to the Scotty's lodges and Center Parcs too. We're so lucky to have the Great Yarmouth lodge so close by and we've enjoyed many weekends there.
'The holidays have provided some much-needed family time.
'We've also holidayed with other bereaved Scotty's families which gives the children opportunity to be with friends who have gone through the same thing and understand. The Christmas parties are also a great opportunity to catch-up with far-flung friends and we've attended them all.'
One of the charity's initiatives is to provide vouchers for the families on significant dates. Caroline said: 'Scotty's send vouchers for birthdays and anniversaries. It's amazing that somebody remembers and it's good to know that someone is thinking of you and that you're not forgotten. The kids really appreciate it.
'Without Scotty's I would lose the great support network and the lovely escape we get from the holidays. Also, the support Scotty's provides on anniversaries; knowing you're remembered means a lot and they really do put a smile on the kid's faces. Scotty's make a huge difference – they help you forget for a little while that life isn't ideal.'
How you can help
From one young woman's determination to see her two young children smile again, Scotty's Little Soldiers has grown to support more than 150 families who have lost a parent in the armed services.
As well as the children of personnel killed in action, it also provides a lifeline to those who have lost a parent from accident or illness.
There are a number of ways you can help them do it:
• Join the Business Heroes Club – request a free Scotty's Business Heroes pack by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or download here.
• Get Involved – volunteer or fundraise for Scotty's Little Soldiers, find out more here.
• Take part in Bobble Hat Day! – Wear your favourite bobble hat on 8th December and donate by texting BHAT17 £2 to 70070. Find out more here.
To make a donations to Scotty's Little Soldiers
• Text SLSC17 £2 £4 or £5 to 70070
• Click here• Or call 08000 928571.
Scotty's shopping list
Here's how your money can help the children of our fallen heroes:
£20 A family meal voucher for Pizza Hut
£25 An individually-selected birthday present
£60 Three anniversary vouchers, sent to members at the time of their parent's death to remind them Scotty's is thinking of them
£100 Ten driving lessons for a 17-year-old member
£150 One Scotty member's annual allowance which can cover the cost of music lessons, sports clubs or school trips
£500 A family go on a break to a Scotty Lodge, including their travel expenses
£1,500 A higher-education grant for those about to head off to university
£5,000 A year's worth of family remembrance meal vouchers for 250 children
£10,000 Amazing Christmas presents for 66 members, or 20 family holidays
£50,000 An amazing and magical Christmas party available for all Scotty members to attend
£105,000 A brand new Scotty holiday lodge to be used by children of our fallen heroes