Charity founder and volunteer celebrated in Queen's honours list
- Credit: SONYA DUNCAN / ARCHANT
The founder of a Fenland charity which supports the children of fallen service personnel has been awarded a British Empire Medal.
Nikki Scott set up Scotty's Little Soldiers in memory of her husband and former March Neale-Wade School pupil Corporal Lee Scott, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.
Cpl Scott, 26, who was serving in the 2nd Royal Tank Regt, was due to return home just weeks after the explosion tore through his armoured vehicle.
After seeing how his death affected his two children - Kai, aged five, and seven-month-old Brooke (who attends Thomas Clarkson Academy in Wisbech) - she realised more needed to be done for the children and families left behind.
Ten years after its launch, Scotty's now provides a lifeline for more than 400 children who have lost a parent.
It provides Christmas and birthday presents and supports families with breaks at one of its seven holiday lodges, while older children are given grants to help with the cost of going to college or driving lessons.
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Ms Scott, 39, said she was surprised when she opened the envelope and learned she had been honoured.
"It was a complete shock," she said. "You don't really expect to receive a letter like that.
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"It's a strange one. It's good to be recognised but I very much feel that Scotty's is run by a really strong team and we have some really great supporters so it's a team effort."
Social events like its Christmas party have moved online this year, with hundreds attending via Zoom.
While on Boxing Day, TV presenter Piers Morgan pledged to donate £15,000 to Scotty's after losing a gamble on quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and walking away with just £1,000.
Ms Scott said the 10-strong team was taking a break before returning to work on January 4.
"We've got plans in place for the start of next year," she said. "We've got lots to do so we're going to come back in and just crack on."
In November last year, Nikki and Brooke appeared on Good Morning Britain and spoke to presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid about what Remembrance Day means for them.
Brooke said: “For us, we remember my dad every day. I have a memory box and a drawer in my room with his things in, like an iPod which still has his music on, and lots of pictures on my wall."