Jilly Hargreaves, from Thurlstone, Sheffield, is the mother of Austen (8) and Cooper (4). Their father, a serving member of the Armed Forces, committed suicide in February 2017. Jilly is walking Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones with her best friend, Karen, to raise money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers to thank them for the invaluable support they have given her and the boys since their father’s death.
Why Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones?
Karen and I chose Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones because it’s a particularly hard and gruelling challenge for both of us that will hopefully raise a lot of money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers.
Can you tell us a bit more about Scotty’s Little Soldiers?
In 2017 my two sons lost their father who was a serving member of the Armed Forces to suicide. This loss has been a difficult time for us all as a family and we have received invaluable support from Scotty’s Little Soldiers in many forms.I was introduced to the charity at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace where we were invited by the military for the bereaved children of military families in May last year.
It was an incredibly tough but wonderful event for my mum, the boys and me. Many families knew of Nicky Scott [the founder of Scotty’s Little Soldiers] personally and recommended that I speak to her about the wonderful support that she could offer. I found it very difficult to approach her and her stall but she was absolutely wonderful.
How did the charity help you?
I was very brief and teary but she simply gave me two application packs, held out a hand to me and asked me to contact her personally with any questions or help that she could offer. I was incredibly grateful as I found it hard at that stage to talk and was prone to tears at any time. She understood this and made me feel comfortable.
A few weeks later I completed the application forms and contacted Nicky to receive some counselling for my children. She was incredible. She put me in contact with Winston’s Wish and they immediately made an appointment to meet us are we are still in contact with them now and receiving regular counselling.
This has definitely been a cornerstone of our recovery and growth as a family and I cannot speak highly enough of the work they do. Nicky has also sent birthday and Christmas presents and important anniversary presents for the boys at the toughest times of the year to encourage us to understand we are not alone and others are thinking of us at the more difficult times.
We have also been given a holiday to Centre Parcs through Scotty’s Little Soldiers which is incredibly kind and provides a brilliant opportunity for us to talk about their dad in a fun environment, but importantly to remember to smile. Nicky is a great advocate for this and all of the work she does is centred around this ethos.
Their support has made an enormous difference to us and that’s why I wanted a challenge that would raise as much money as possible.