Lee’s death had a massive impact on the
community, it was it was all over the press, everyone was talking about it, I
think it really had an impact on everyone. For me personally, Lee was
buried right next to my sister, so every time I visit my sister’s grave, I always
look across to Lee’s and so it had that personal impact as well. I remember the journalist rushing down,
and said “we gotta interrupt the show, we’ve gotta do some
news”, and then to hear some tragic news like that, so close to home, I do remember it,
and I also remember it well because it was around the time of my, my birthday
and I’ve got young children, or they were young then, and you can’t help but
think, you know, how terrible that must be because when you’re a parent yourself,
you think of those young children, what it must have been like for them as well. I think I worked on the front page about Lee and his death in 2009, and it really did
bring it home, it was a time when a lot of news was full of people being killed in
Afghanistan, I think though in the end there was 440, something like that lost
their lives there. 2009, when Facebook and social media was very, very primitive
back then, and people were using it literally just to update and tell the
world what they were having for tea, I remember being so overwhelmed by my
first experience of watching and feeling a community come together. It was, it was
terribly tragic and very sad. I remember Nikki starting Scotty’s
Little Soldiers because obviously we still had the funeral of Lee in our
minds, I guess, you know it was covered everywhere locally, and I remember seeing
and hearing that the charity had been started and thinking what brilliant idea it
was, and I’m surprised nobody’s, nobody had ever done it before. I just
can’t imagine how traumatic that must be for a child to lose their parents, and
for Nikki to have found the strength and the vision and the courage to have set
up something in the most probably traumatic period of her life, and to do
something for, to not only help her children, but so many other children in
that same situation, I just find that so inspiring. I think one of the first
events was a cycle ride, I think, from Lynn down to Tidworth, where it was then
based, and then of course quite soon after, in my mind it seems very soon
after, but I’m not sure on the dates, it came to be based in Lynn, I’m sure it was based in Lynn,
and certainly it was based in Lynn by the time, two or three years down the line,
when it’s probably had its first really big national exposure when it was at the
Milly’s, which was on ITV, I remember that very well. “Nikki, what a pleasure to give you
this award. What’s amazing is when you think of
those families around the country that have paid the ultimate price, but you
stood up, on your own, getting the kids laughing again, this is a really
important award for a very special person, congratulations, well done.” And we all knew it was going to happen because, obviously there’d been a lot of publicity
beforehand, we were talking about it on KLFM, we were enticing people to
sit down and watch it, but it was a completely different kettle of fish when
you actually saw it, you know, Nikki being in a room full of all these celebrities
that we all love and respect, and you know, in the cutaway to David Cameron the
prime minister at the time who is in the audience weeping, it just goes to show that despite at the time the charity being
still relatively King’s Lynn focused, that it really does resonate with people. Whenever it’s children that are involved, I think it, you know, it really pulls
on people’s heart strings and when it comes down to the children that can be
left behind by you know casualties on the battlefield, I think it just, anybody
who’s a parent, you know if you’ve got kids you can’t imagine what they go
through. I think the work Scotty’s does in that
area is absolutely amazing really, for those children to know that there are
other children that are in the same boat as them, is brilliant, for them to be able
to meet those children, it’s brilliant, at the accommodation that Scotty’s has for
them, for all the fun events they have, I also think it’s brilliant because I know
that Scotty’s are there on the other end of the phone as
well, you know, if they ever need someone to talk to, or some support, or just just
an ear, you know, that must also be an amazing resource for those people. I’ve seen Nikki talking on the film about, you know, taking her children away
and it was the following year, and realising that maybe the first time,
maybe seeing them smile and realising exactly what needed doing,
but you can realise that, but then to actually then be able to be strong
enough and brave enough to actually do that, you know, it’s just amazing really
and she’s done an absolutely brilliant job really, and I think everyone in Lynn
is very proud of her. I think first of all, yep you can’t
imagine yourself in that situation, but I think for, you know, Nikki’s response to
set up a charity not just, you know, is to help all the children that were going
through what well her kids we’re going through, it takes special people. There are hundreds, thousands of charities out there, and every charity is
worthwhile, otherwise there’d be no point in it, and I’m sure that whatever you
support as an individual, you know, you have a very close connection to it, but
there is nothing more heroic than fighting for your country and tragically
losing your life in the process, and one cannot even begin to imagine the
darkness, and the the pain that Nikki and her family went through, just
thinking about it makes me, makes me feel quite sad. Wow. Charity of the year process at Bespak is that we invite applications from
charities, for the charity of the year, we also get nominations from within the
workforce that we have, we have about 800 people work for Bespak,
you know, we know that we’re one of the the larger employees in the King’s Lynn
area, and the winner of the vote for 2018-19, was Scotty’s Little Soldiers. With KL Magazine having our 10 year anniversary this year, I just couldn’t
think of a more fitting local charity to make our charity of the year. We had a
team meeting which we discuss, as we do every year, which
charities we’re going to support and we try and support as many as we can, and what we
try and do is support a lot of charities in a little way, but we felt we wanted to
do something a little bit special this year, we knew that it was Scotty’s 10th
anniversary and, you know, we had a kind of a vote round the table, and it was
unanimous that we were going to choose Scotty’s Little Soldiers as our
charity of the year. We come more up to date, we had this front page which was
from last November, when they were at the Cenotaph for the first time, and that was
must have been, that must have been, I think that was, I think Nicky must have been very
proud to do that, and they had children from all over the country, and in their, in
their Scotty’s colours Now I think, I think when you watch the Remembrance Day parade, I mean it really, a very poignant, you know, when you see that the charity
achieved what it’s been able to, but that level of recognition, and I think that
the, you know, the emotional pull that you get when you see, effectively children
parading in place of their parents, who aren’t there, and who aren’t able to be
there, it’s a really good reminder of, you know, why the charity’s, is there in the
first place. Although all of these people have heard of them, there are still
families out there that maybe don’t have Scotty’s on their radar, so I want
everyone to know about Scotty’s, because it’s a great job that they’re doing, and
everyone deserves to be able to have a, a little piece of the pie, as it were,
so just for Scotty’s to continue to grow, and you know, if it keeps on going at the
rate it is, I’m sure that will happen before too long. I would like to see
Scotty’s get bigger and bigger, I hope that it stays and remains in West Norfolk,
because I think it’s kind of a lot of people, with the type of charity that
is, think it’s our, think it’s ours which is quite a nice thing, but I just, I
hope that it grows and grows and grows. It’s magnificent the work that Scotty’s
have done in the last 10 years, with the celebrity endorsements, royal
endorsements, etc. you know, I just hope that we can try and get it even bigger
here in West Norfolk, but make sure that it gets a national name. I’d love to see
Scotty’s Little Soldiers just continuing to grow for the future,
I think what they’ve done is amazing and I think all they need to do is carry on
the same way they are. It’s, it’s just getting bigger and bigger, it’s more and
more well known, they couldn’t be doing a more amazing job, and I think just more
of the same for them.

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