Scotty's brave little soliders meet NFL stars
PUBLISHED: 11:11 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:24 01 November 2017
courtesy of Kelly Appleby
Eight bereaved armed forces children came face to face with American NFL sporting legends thanks to a charity.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers members were treated to a trip to Twickenham Stadium where they met with the Minnesota Vikings team and coach who helped them get to grips with American Football.
The children, who have all lost a parent while serving in the British Armed Forces, went behind the scenes at stadium ahead of the NFL’s clash between Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns.
They were then able to watch the game live on Sunday, October 29.
The event, which was organised by the American military bereavement charity, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), was part of a wider program to provide bereaved UK military families the opportunity to come together with military families in the USA and to help widen the support network for every bereaved Forces child across both countries.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers founder Nikki Scott said: “Our Armed Forces in the UK have long worked alongside their US partners, so it makes perfect sense to us, as a charity for bereaved British Forces families, to have a close relationship with organisations providing similar support over in America.
“We’re very grateful to TAPS, the US Embassy and the NFL for involving Scotty’s Little Soldiers in the weekend’s activities and providing such a fantastic opportunity for our beneficiaries to not only enjoy some wonderful entertainment but also to share experiences with other bereaved military families.”
One of the Scotty’s families in attendance was Kelly Appleby and her twin daughters Caitlin and Lauren, who lost their dad, Staff Sergeant Chris Appleby, in December 2013 to cancer.
Caitlin and Lauren both from Shefford in Bedfordshire, were just 10 years old when they lost their dad.
Kelly said: “It was just such a fantastic day it’s hard to put it in words. The girls had a great time meeting everyone, it was phenomenal.
“What was amazing was meeting such a variety of people, who we will definitely keep in touch with. I can’t thank Scotty’s enough for giving us this opportunity.”
In addition to the Twickenham visit, Scotty’s families took part in a variety of activities over the course of the weekend, including a tour of the Tower of London and a visit to the US Embassy.
The program also gave each child the opportunity to share their feelings with other children and draw on their experiences to help them through the difficult stages of life that occur from losing a parent at such a young age.
Scotty’s Little Soldiers chief executive Stuart Robinson said: “We may have withdrawn from Afghanistan, but the need to support the children our fallen heroes leave behind is more important than ever.
“More and more families are coming to Scotty’s asking for help and we see how the effects of losing a serving parent can be triggered at different stages during childhood.
“It’s so important to these guys that they know the British public hasn’t forgotten the sacrifices made and that our support is available to them when they need it.”
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
• 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