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Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex Brings Smiles and Support to Bereaved Military Children

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex Brings Smiles and Support to Bereaved Military Children

NEWS

15 May, 2024

Scotty's Little Soldiers hosted a heart-warming event in London, bringing together 50 children and young people who have experienced the death of a military parent for a fun-filled afternoon with the charity’s Global Ambassador, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.

Prince Harry, a long-standing supporter of Scotty's Little Soldiers, surprised the children aged 6 to 22 years when he joined their event, and spent time chatting to them as well as joining them for games such as Edible Races, Flipper Challenge and Bucket Head. The Duke also spent time with the children’s parents. The event provided a safe space for the young people to connect with one another, build friendships, and create lasting memories.

The Duke of Sussex Brings Smiles and Support

Following the lively session, Prince Harry spent quality time with nine members from Scotty's Council. This dedicated group of young people, who represent the charity’s other members and provide a voice for bereaved military children and young people, discussed their experiences of growing up without a parent and the invaluable support they receive from Scotty's Little Soldiers.

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex and Global Ambassador of Scotty's Little Soldiers, reflected:"It was an honour to meet so many of the wonderful families Scotty’s Little Soldiers supports. I have long believed in the mission of this charity, and I truly believe the work they do to foster community and create space for young people to connect, grieve, but also have fun together is life-changing. I am a huge supporter of their work, and very proud to be their first Global Ambassador.”

Nikki Scott, who founded Scotty’s Little Soldiers in 2010 following the death of her husband, Cpl Lee Scott, in 2009, commented: "It was amazing to see all the smiles in the room when Prince Harry walked through the door. The Duke of Sussex has supported Scotty’s for a long time, which means a lot to our members because they know he understands what it’s like to experience the death of a parent and the challenges they face. It’s important to our members to maintain their connection to the military community, which Prince Harry is also passionate about. Events like these are so valuable to our members because it enables them to develop friendships with others in a similar situation, as well as have lots of fun.” "Prince Harry was the best person to share that experience with because he’s been through it and understands better than anyone. It was really moving to see how vulnerable he was with us, which encouraged us to open up as well." She continued: "It felt really connecting because when your parent served, they served for the country, and one of the most important things for the country is the Royal Family. Speaking with someone who is part of that made me feel more connected to my Dad. It was amazing to be connected to him in that moment."

Joshua Kirkham (19) joined Scotty’s Little Soldiers in 2014. His dad LCpl Christopher Bradshaw, died in a road collision on 26th November 2011 when Joshua was six years old. Joshua is also a member of Scotty’s Council and after having a heart-felt conversation with The Duke, he said: "The standout moment in our conversation with Prince Harry was around coping mechanisms for bereavement. We discussed being proud of the family member we've lost, celebrating their life, and understanding that it's okay to be sad, to grieve, and to seek support in whatever way feels right."

Scotty’s currently supports over 670 bereaved military children and young people, aged 0 – 25 years. Services offered include access to one-to-one child bereavement support, guidance to parents and carers, personal education and learning assistance (including grants), development opportunities and fun activities such as holiday respite breaks and group events. These are all designed to remind the children and young people supported by Scotty’s that they are not alone. The charity has a long-term goal of supporting over 1,000 bereaved military children and young people annually by 2030.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers would like to thank events company Sharky and George for providing the fun and games, Paul Tibbs Photography for capturing the event, John Rourke for supporting with filming and CC1 Norfolk for providing first aid.