Military youngsters have shared their personal stories of bereavement to highlight new data that shows an estimated 2,100 children each year suffer the loss of a parent who served in the armed forces.

Brooke Scott with a photo of her dad Lee

Brooke Scott with a photo of her dad Lee

Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which used figures from the Ministry of Defence and the 2021 Census to make the estimate, says it has already helped more than 680 bereaved children this year. Now it is planning to expand so it can offer effective services to more of them.

Brooke was a baby when her dad Cpl Lee Scott of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009. She says: “My mum and brother, Kai – he was five when my dad died – they tend to talk a lot about it. My brother will be in the supermarket and be like: ‘Oh, that was dad’s favourite…’ I almost get a little bit jealous that he has those memories and I don’t.”

LMEM Paul Crowther took his own life when daughter Tuscany was 13. “Although we don’t look through the photos all the time because it can bring back a lot of emotions, just knowing that they’re there and that I can look at them whenever I want, that’s quite important to me,” she says.

Tuscany Crowther-Snow with a photo of her dad Paul

Tuscany Crowther-Snow with a photo of her dad Paul

“I don’t think I would have been able to grow as a young person if I didn’t have Scotty’s there to support me.”

The charity’s founder, Lee’s widow Nikki, says the new data revealing the number of children affected was significant. “Until now we’ve not known the true scale of the need.

“We had a goal to work towards of supporting 1,000 children a year by 2030 but it is now clear we need to grow faster to support the children and families who are out there – to give them emotional support, development opportunities and the chance to smile again.”

The charity supports its members until they’re 25, offering help with bereavement, respite breaks and a range of activities.

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