Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex has recorded a special Christmas video message for children who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. The children are all members of Scotty’s Little Soldiers – the charity for bereaved British Forces children and young people.
The video, in which Prince Harry is dressed as Spider-Man, comes less than a month after The Duke wrote Scotty’s members a letter showing his support for them at Remembrance.
The special video message, which can be viewed HERE, was played to members of Scotty’s Little Soldiers at their annual Christmas party.
The party held on Saturday 3 December was attended by over 100 children and young people, all bereaved of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces. The annual event is held in a different location every year and provides Scotty’s members with an opportunity to meet others in the same situation as them, helping to reduce their feelings of isolation and reminding them they aren’t alone in their grief. The party ensures the children have fun at a time of year that can be difficult when missing a loved one.
The theme of this year’s Scotty Party was Heroes and Villains, and the children and young people were set a challenge after being briefed that villains were trying to ruin Christmas – they had stolen and locked up Father Christmas’s presents. The members of Scotty’s were tasked with saving Christmas by defeating the villains. The children worked with heroes to complete challenges to find secret codes and release the presents.
Scotty’s members can relate to a lot of fictional superheroes – Spider-Man, Batman and Superman were all bereaved. However, not all superheroes wear capes. The children and young people supported by Scotty’s all have parents who are heroes, and they are heroes too. At the party, the children were given capes to decorate and wear.
Prince Harry has a long-standing relationship with Scotty’s Little Soldiers as it’s a cause close to his heart. The charity was set up by war widow Nikki Scott in 2010, following the death of her husband, Cpl Lee Scott, in Afghanistan the previous year. She saw the devastating impact on their two young children and wanted to help others in the same situation.
The Duke of Sussex met Nikki and some of the charity’s members at Party at the Palace back in 2017. When Prince Harry married Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex in 2018, Scotty’s was selected as one of the charities to benefit from donations to mark the couple’s wedding ceremony.
Prince Harry previously recorded a video for Scotty’s members, which was played at their Christmas party in 2019. In the video, The Duke was dressed as Father Christmas, so this is the second time he’s spoken to Scotty’s members in fancy dress at Christmas.
14-year-old Scotty Member, Jamie Small, who was eight years old when his dad, Corporal Christopher Small, died in 2016, said after seeing Prince Harry’s Spider-Man video:
“It’s pretty cool that Prince Harry supports Scotty’s. This isn’t just a person from a small village. He’s someone people all over the world know and he has taken the time to record a special message for us, which means a lot.”
12-year-old Scotty Member, Emily Reynolds, who was seven years old when her dad, Sergeant Antony Reynolds, died in 2018, added:
“It’s cool that someone who’s been through the same experience as us is thinking about us. He’s not just someone who’s trying to be sympathetic, he actually knows what it’s like to grow up without your parent. My friends think it’s really cool that I get letters and messages from Prince Harry.”
14-year-old Scotty Member, Ben O’Donnell, who was just nine weeks old when his dad, Warrant Officer Class 2 Gary O’Donnell, died in 2008, said:
“It’s not the first time Prince Harry has shown us that he’s thinking about us and it’s good to hear from him again this Christmas. He’s gone to a lot of effort which shows he genuinely cares. It’s great he wore the Spider-Man outfit. Maybe he’ll be the next Spider-Man!”
Scotty’s Little Soldiers Founder, Nikki Scott, said:
“It’s incredible for everyone at Scotty’s to have Prince Harry’s continued support. He knows what it’s like to grow up without a parent and understands there are certain times of the year that can be particularly challenging. Christmas is one of those times. We have the party to remind our members they aren’t alone but also to facilitate the opportunity for members to meet others and forge friendships. In addition, it provides an opportunity for parents/carers to gain access to resources and information to help them support their children.
“We chose the Heroes and Villains theme based on suggestions from our members and all the activities are designed to help increase members’ confidence and self-esteem and help promote their overall emotional wellbeing. We love the fact that Prince Harry not only recorded such a special message but also dressed up as Spider-Man.”
Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a tri-service charity for children and young people bereaved of a military parent, regardless of the cause of death, and provides a range of services to its members including access to child bereavement support, guidance to parents and carers, personal education and learning assistance, gifts at especially tough times of the year (birthday, Christmas, anniversary of parent’s death and Remembrance) 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.
Events such as Scotty’s Christmas Party and other support provided by the charity make a huge difference to a bereaved military child. To find out more about how you can help, go to www.scottyslittlesoldiers.co.uk