The founder of national armed forces charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers has offered advice to the parents of little ones who are spending the first Christmas without a loved one.
Army widow Nikki Scott set up the Lynn-based charity in 2010 following the death of her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, in Afghanistan in July 2009 leaving behind her and their two young children.
The charity, which supports children who have lost a parent whilst serving in the Armed Forces, provides Christmas and birthday gifts, treats, trips and activities as well as enabling them to use the charity holiday lodges.
Now the charity’s founder has spoken out about the struggles of a family facing that first family Christmas without a partner, husband or father.
Nikki Scott said: “While life following the death of a spouse or partner will always be painful, the first year and the first Christmas can be particularly difficult, given it’s a time of year when families gather together and spend a higher amount of time with one another.
“That’s why we’ve released our advice to help and support parents facing this difficult time.
“While it’s seldom spoken about, the first Christmas following the death of a parent is a reality for many across the UK and so we want to offer our advice and support wherever necessary.”
The charity recognises that while life following the death of a spouse or partner will always be painful, the Christmas period in general and particularly the first one since bereavement can be especially difficult for families with children.
The military charity for bereaved children came about as a result of Nikki seeing her children laugh for the first time following Lee’s death when on holiday in Turkey.
She said: “It’s just little things to make sure their memory lives on. It can feel tough that first year when there is a gap at the table and you can feel someone missing so it’s important to talk like you have said and make sure the memories stay alive but to enjoy Christmas and have fun as well.
“For us Lee loved Christmas, it was his favourite time of year so I try to make sure the kids love it too as that is what he would want.”
To find out more, go to www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk or call 01553 763000.