Lynn charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers has opened its third holiday lodge, in Devon, which means even more families who have lost loved ones in the armed forces can take a much-needed break.
Charity founder Nikki Scott was thrilled to cut the ribbon to open the new lodge, which is already booked up throughout the summer.
She said: “I always said at the beginning of this journey that I would love three holiday homes. That was always the goal and now we have our three Scotty lodges!
“I feel very proud of everything the charity has achieved and I love that people want to help the children who are left without a parent. It means more than I could ever put into words.
“I know Lee, like lots more, would be looking down and thanking everyone for helping to look after his children.”
The new lodge joins two others, in Great Yarmouth and Blackpool, and offers a sea view to enjoy from the decking, which is Nikki’s favourite thing about the new lodge.
The mother of two, 10-year-old Kai and five-year-old Brooke, knows first-hand the devastation of a family who have lost a father after her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, was killed in Afghanistan in July 2009.
Nikki was inspired to start the charity as a way of supporting the children left behind with birthday and Christmas gifts, trips, activities and holidays.
Nikki said: “When we opened the first lodge in Great Yarmouth it was an emotional day for me. I saw my dream turn into reality. We opened our second lodge in Blackpool just a year later and I couldn’t believe how quickly we raised the money for it.”
Each lodge is filled with home comforts, and the charity makes sure the families have everything they could need, including bedding, high chairs, toys and games for the family. Travel fees are also taken care of and the charity provide each family with £100 each time they stay to help towards food and activities.
She said: “The lodges are stunning. As soon as you step into one of them you instantly feel relaxed. Knowing they are there for the families gives you such a warm feeling inside.
“It’s not just a holiday to our families, it’s a chance to make new memories for the children to look back on in years to come.”
Army widow Angela Nicholls’ husband LCPL Ross Nicholls died in Afghanistan in 2006. She said: “Ross had spent just three weeks with our daughter before he went to Afghanistan and our son wasn’t yet two so their memories of their dad mostly come from photos.”
“I felt lost and lonely afterwards, but I would say it’s harder now they’re old enough to understand things and are trying to deal with their emotions. That’s why Scotty’s is good. We can go away and not worry about things – that’s exactly what the lodges do.
“Everything is provided and you don’t feel under any pressure to do anything. Going to a Scotty lodge has really become the highlight of their year.”
The charity is looking for a part-time accounts volunteer to work eight hours over two days a week on bookkeeping.
If you are interested in the position, send a CV and covering letter to HR Department, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, 28 Railway Road, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 1NF. For more on the charity, go to www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk