Soldiering On – 12 years since Lee Scott was killed in Afghanistan
July is such a lovely month. The weather is usually nice, the schools break up for summer and there’s lots of fun to be had.
But for my family, July is a tough month. On July 10 it will be 12 years since my cheeky, fun-loving husband Lee was killed in Afghanistan. It doesn’t seem possible we’ve lived 12 years without him.
This month I’d like to dedicate my column to Lee.
Lee grew up in Littleport and moved to Lynn in his late teens. He loved this town and it’s where we met. I used to work in Dr Thirsty’s on Norfolk Street, which some of you will know. He used to sit at the bar and chat to me. He was always laughing, smiling and joking around.
He’d often ask me out but I always said no. I loved his company and we were good mates, but I used to think he was a bit immature. Then he joined the Army and suddenly he changed. The Army had a really positive impact on him and he matured. He was even more buzzing for life and had so much passion for what he was doing.
After his first tour of Kosovo, where he was a specialist surveillance operative, he was promoted to Lance Corporal. Lee completed another tour, this time to Iraq and was flying through his Army career.
He was actually the first ever Lance Corporal and youngest ever person to be selected and pass the course to become a tank commander, which he would tell me about regularly. He was very proud of this achievement and rightly so.
Over this period, Lee and I grew close and eventually, after years of him asking, we finally started dating. Time seemed to fly and before we knew it, I was a military wife and we were a family of four, with our lovely son Kai and gorgeous daughter Brooke.
By this point we were living in Tidworth, so instead of being stuck behind tractors in Norfolk, we were stuck behind tanks! We loved being part of the military community and life was good.
But everything changed when Lee went on tour to Afghanistan. I remember how hard I found it when he left, knowing he would be away for six months. I didn’t know how I would manage without him for so long. Never did I think he wouldn’t come home.
I’ve recently been reading through the tributes that were made to Lee after he died. I’ve picked out this one to share with you.
Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Simson, Commanding Officer 2 Royal Tank Regiment, said: “Known as ‘Scotty’, Cpl Scott was known throughout this small family regiment as a professional and an enthusiast. He was also known for his cheerfulness, his infectious smile and for his laughter.
“Whether commanding his tank, leading his section in Afghanistan, skydiving or just mucking around, Scotty was at the centre of things, loving life and making it better for everyone else. His was a career full of promise.
“But first and foremost, Scotty was a family man. He was proud beyond words to be a husband to Nikki and a father to his son, Kai, and his daughter, Brooke. If he loved soldiering, it was nothing to his love for them.”
When we set up the charity in 2010, Scotty’s Little Soldiers was the perfect name. Lee was known as Scotty and he called Kai his little Soldier, so every time I hear anyone say Scotty’s or Scotty’s Little Soldiers, it reminds me of Lee and how we are keeping his memory alive. Scotty’s isn’t just a charity, it is Lee’s legacy.