Jessica & Amy
Amy Lawrence’s husband Philip Lawrence was 22 when he was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. She’s mum to Jessica, seven, and they both live in Norfolk. Amy tells us how the loss of her Dad has effected Jess and why Scotty’s means so much to them now…
“We met in September 2006, we met just out drinking but a couple of months later Phil went to Afghanistan on his first tour so we just stayed friends. He came back at the beginning of 2007, and we got more serious, and then we decided to get married in February 2008, in Norwich. He was 19 and I was 21.
“We had Jess in the November and then he was deployed again to Afghanistan in April 2009. He came home on his R&R in June and then went back out for a few more months, but he was killed before I got to see him again. It was July 27th and he was killed by an IED after his convoy got stuck out overnight.
“I went into shock when I was told. Jess was eight months old. I didn’t know what to say or do or how to react but for some reason I knew I needed to get home and take the medals off Phil’s uniform before they took it away. He’d told me that.
“If I look back now I can’t really remember anything to be honest. You go from being married and having a family and making decisions together and then suddenly that person’s gone and you don’t know which way to turn, where you’re going to live. It’s changed us an awful lot.
“Jess gets frustrated because she can’t remember her daddy and she’s only got a few pictures of him with her. She only knows what people tell her of him. It’s little things like going to parents evening without both parents there, and when other children have their daddies visit who are firemen and policemen and she wants her daddy to go in as a soldier.
“Phil and I had only been together three years before he was killed and it’s taken me four or five years to get my head straight and make sure Jess is still happy. Phil’s friends have been great, she idolizes them. I had a tattoo for the first anniversary: angel wings and a wedding band on my forearm. As Jess gets older we tend to do something together like go to Cheshire zoo, because Phil was from Birkenhead and he liked going there when he was growing up.
“We’ve started making happy memories through Scotty’s Little Soldiers. Jess has been a member since 2011 and her face lights up when she sees the Scotty’s sticker on a letter or parcel in the post for her.
“For her it’s also knowing that there are other children who know exactly how she’s feeling, she made some great friends over the years which has helped build her confidence. They all know what she’s going through and they can all support one another. It’s the little things that make such a big difference to us.
“Jess has had some fantastic experiences thanks to Scotty’s. We were both invited to Norwich City Football Club a few years ago and Jess walked on to the pitch before kick off with the match ball. This was a big moment for her, walking out in front of thousands of people but she thoroughly enjoyed it. She also got to meet other Scotty’s members. It was just really nice, all the children of all different ages. We love Scotty’s and it’s not just Jess, it’s helped me a lot as well because I’ve met a lot of friends who are also widows and they really understand.”
You can help support Jessica and other bereaved Forces children by donating online to Scotty’s Little Soldiers here.