“I’m keeping the memory of my dad alive”
Phoebe Thompson discusses life without her dad and how a charity has helped her smile again
Phoebe Thompson, from Dewsbury in West Yorkshire, lost her dad Navy Operator Mechanic (OM1) James Thompson in November 2014 when she was just 10-years-old.
James, who was 39-years-old when he passed away, spent 20 years in the Navy. In October 2014 he was diagnosed with melanoma and just three weeks after his diagnosis, on 18 November 2014, he sadly passed away.
Following his death, his daughter, 12-year-old Phoebe, has been a pillar of strength to her mum Amy and older brother Hugo (14). She shares her story of growing up without her dad and how Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which is dedicated to providing support to bereaved British Armed Forces children, has helped her through the hard times and in keeping the memory of her dad alive.
Phoebe’s mother, Amy Thompson explained to Phoebe what had happened to her dad the day he passed away. She said: “Telling my children that their father wasn’t coming home was the hardest thing I’ve ever done; their Grandma was also terminally ill at the time which made it even harder. The Welfare Naval Team told me the best thing to do was to be honest so I explained to them that their dad had become very poorly very quickly and the doctors were unable to make him better.
“Phoebe didn’t say much when I told her, she just sat there knitting. But as she’s grown up it has started to affect her more, especially around Father’s Day and the anniversary of James’s death.”
It was following a family break in Whitby, organised by the Naval Welfare FAB camp, that Phoebe and Hugo were introduced to Scotty’s Little Soldiers which was set-up in 2010 by Army widow, Nikki Scott in memory of her husband Corporal Lee Scott to support bereaved British Forces children. Nikki and Lee had two children and she saw first-hand the effect the loss of a loved one in these circumstances can have on a child.
And it has been Scotty’s support that has kept Phoebe smiling and helped her through some of the hard times over the last year and a half. She said:
“The hardest thing at first was going back to school, a lot of my friends didn’t understand what I was going through which was really hard. It got a lot easier when I joined Scotty’s as I felt really supported. I was able to talk to other children who are just like me and are going through the same thing.”
On the anniversary of her dad’s death, in November 2015, Phoebe, Hugo and Amy went on holiday to a Scotty’s Lodge. Phoebe said: “Staying at the Lodge was great, it was a really nice way of keeping my dad’s memory alive. It was a really hard time of year for us all so just being able to enjoy time together and remember dad was really helpful.
“Then not long after our holiday at the Scotty’s Lodge was the Scotty’s Christmas party where I met lots of other children just like me. It was good, being able to talk about my dad with other children who knew what I was going through. I keep in touch with a lot of the Scotty’s friends I’ve made, we text a lot especially during the hard times; we help each other through and that wouldn’t be possible without Scotty’s.”
And it’s not just the charity events which help support Phoebe, but also the grants available. Phoebe said: “Scotty’s has helped both me and Hugo learn something new, I received ballet lessons, which I have my exam for very soon and Hugo got to take part in a cookery course.
“I can’t thank Scotty’s enough for all of the support they have given me and Hugo, they are a great charity and I’m so happy to be a member.”
You can help support Phoebe and other bereaved Forces children by donating online to Scotty’s Little Soldiers here.