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Soldiering On column: A wonderful time at the Festival

Written by Nikki Scott , founder of Lynn-based national charity Scotty's Little Soldiers, Friday, October 2, 2020

My oldest three children have settled back into school and my youngest, Dani, who is nine months, is on the move now, so she is keeping me busy!

It’s been nice to get into a more ‘normal’ routine, although obviously the tightening of restrictions is disheartening for us all.

Nikki Scott and Bear Club at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn
Nikki Scott and Bear Club at the Corn Exchange in King's Lynn

A couple of weeks ago we held a virtual festival for the bereaved British Forces children supported by Scotty’s Little Soldiers and 94 of our members joined the party via Zoom.

Everywhere I looked I could see smiles and laughter.

It was just amazing, and I have to admit that I found it quite emotional too. These kids have been through, and continue to go through, so much, so it was just what was needed.

There were loads of fun activities and games and Britain’s Got Talent winner Richard Jones did some amazing magic tricks for the kids.

Although this event was for bereaved military kids all over the country, it’s thanks to the people of West Norfolk that we were able to make it happen.

We raised funds through an appeal and the generous donations paid for festival packs that were sent to the children in advance.

Local band Bear Club performed live music from the Corn Exchange inLynn, which the children danced away to.

It was wonderful to see.

It seems that virtual events will be the only way we can get our Scotty kids together for a quite some time. It’s disappointing that we can’t have our usual Christmas party and other face-to-face events that we originally had planned, but the success of the virtual festival shows that it’s the engagement that really matters, whether that be in-person or over Zoom.

The children had a great time and it reminded them that they aren’t alone and they haven’t been forgotten. We received so many lovely messages after the festival from members that we’re buzzing.

The other great thing about this kind of event is that we find the levels of engagement from families goes up afterwards. It opens the door for families to get in touch with us and if anyone is struggling, they are more likely to ask for help.

Every year we have a fundraising ball for our supporters. It’s a great event where everyone gets dressed up and has a good time, as well as raising vital funds so we can continue to support the children of our fallen heroes.

Our first ever fundraising ball took place at The Dukes Head in King’s Lynn in 2013. 2020’s ball, like most events, will be virtual! I think we’ve managed to prove though, that if virtual events are done well, you can have a great time from the comfort of your own home!

We’d love you to join. Tickets are £15 per household and remember that as well as having a great evening, by buying a ticket you are enabling us to continue to support bereaved Forces children.

You can also buy raffle tickets. We have some amazing prizes including a week in a gîte for up to 6, and ifyou win, we will be in touch, so even if you can’t attend the ball, it’s well worth getting a ticket!

You can buy ball and raffle tickets by going to www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk and clicking on ‘shop’. Stay safe everyone and keep warm!

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