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Former soldier meets 10-year-old whose father was killed in Afghanistan

PUBLISHED: 13:53 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:53 08 July 2019

Nikki Scott of Scotty's Little Soldiers, with her children Kai and Brooke Picture: Matthew Usher.

Nikki Scott of Scotty's Little Soldiers, with her children Kai and Brooke Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2014

An army veteran has met the 10-year-old daughter of a soldier killed in Afghanistan, to answer her questions about how her father died.

The Funeral of Corporal Lee Scott at St Faiths Church in Gaywood Picture: Matthew UsherThe Funeral of Corporal Lee Scott at St Faiths Church in Gaywood Picture: Matthew Usher

Cpl Lee Scott from King's Lynn was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on July 10, 2009.

His daughter Brooke was just seven months old. Brooke has no memories of her 26-year-old dad, only the stories shared by his family, friends and colleagues.

Now Paul Howard, Cpl Scott's former troop sergeant in Afghanistan, has met her to talk about being on tour with her dad.

He tells telling Brooke stories about his experiences, showing her photos and talking about the stories behind the images. Brooke laughs, cries and visibly relishes learning more about the father she can't remember.

Lee Scott died on July 10, 2009 in Afghanistan  Picture: Matthew UsherLee Scott died on July 10, 2009 in Afghanistan Picture: Matthew Usher

In an annual member survey, bereaved Armed Forces children's charity, Scotty's Little Soldiers, found that three quarters of families felt disconnected from the military community following the death of a loved one who was serving.

Scotty's, which was launched by Cpl Scott's widow Nikki in his memory, has now started its #reconnect campaign with the aim of reconnecting families with the armed forces community.

Ms Scott said: "When you have a loved one in the armed forces you are part of a community, however when they die, many families - my own included - have to move out of their military accommodation so families often move back to their home towns leaving them feeling suddenly cut off from the community.

"I think it's really important for children to know about the lives of their loved ones, which is why we have started this campaign."

Nikki Scott lost her husband and the father of her two oldest children, Corporal Lee Scott, during a tour to Afghanistan in July 2009. Picture: Courtesy of Nikki ScottNikki Scott lost her husband and the father of her two oldest children, Corporal Lee Scott, during a tour to Afghanistan in July 2009. Picture: Courtesy of Nikki Scott

When a serviceman or woman dies their comrades, who survive often don't stay in touch with their families because they don't want to upset them or drag up bad memories.

Sgt Adam Horne, of the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre, said: "It's a difficult situation to be in. On the one hand I want to stay in touch with families and let them know that I am still thinking about them, but on the other hand I don't want to intrude or upset them, especially when they seem to be getting back to a good place and moving forward with their lives. I would never want to bring back the awful memories of their loved one's death."

Cpl Paul Findlay, former Royal Signals, who was injured in Afghanistan in 2009 while serving with 19 Brigade reconnaissance force, said: "The last thing I would want is for the family of a fallen comrade to feel the community has forgotten them.

However, survivors' guilt has often stopped me from getting in touch with a fallen comrade's family. On many occasions, I have questioned why I survived, and they didn't - and wondered if their family felt the same way."

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