A SOUTH Somerset teenager did her military family and community proud this month, as she completed a walking marathon in a day while raising much-needed funds for hundreds of bereaved Armed Forces children and young people.

Charlotte Smith, from Yeovil, took to the streets of her hometown on March 13 to complete the marathon distance (26.2 miles), to raise money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a national charity which offers integral support to children and young people who have experienced the death of a parent in the Armed Forces.

The 14-year-old has grown up in the Forces community, with her dad - Warrant Officer Colin Smith - currently serving in the Navy, and so she knows how important charities like Scotty’s are.

She had already planned to do a marathon walk as part of her Duke of Edinburgh award, alongside her friend Izzy Short, and decided to fundraise for a worthy cause in the process.

Charlotte’s mum, Gail, was there to cheer her on and said: “Charlotte immediately said she wanted to raise money for Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

"The charity means a lot to us, and with Colin also serving in the Navy, we all know what an important role it plays within the Forces community.

“Charlotte has really enjoyed taking part in the walk, even the practice walks which have taken her almost 12 hours to complete.

"She’s done incredibly well in drumming up donations; even before the walk she surpassed her fundraising target of £150, and we hope that amount continues to grow.”

Chard & Ilminster News:

BIG EFFORT: Charlotte Smith with her friend Izzy Short

Scotty’s Little Soldiers, which was set up in 2010 by war widow Nikki Scott, offers integral support to children and young people who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the Armed Forces.

Nikki saw the devastating impact the death of her husband, Corporal Lee Scott, in 2009 had on their two young children and wanted to help others in the same situation.

The charity does lots of things to support its members, including providing access to the very best emotional health and wellbeing care, offering outstanding development opportunities through a range of activity and educational grants.

Over the last year, the charity has had to adapt to the current climate and has been using modern technology to arrange exciting virtual events and activities to engage with its members, ensuring them that in uncertain times such as these they are not alone.

They’ve also been providing wellbeing support to families who are suffering from enhanced anxiety and other problems due to the current health crisis.

Nikki said: “I can’t thank Charlotte, Izzy, and their families enough for getting behind Scotty’s and helping us to raise funds we most desperately need.

"This year has been especially difficult for our members; they’ve needed us more than ever before and it’s only because of the amazing efforts people like Charlotte and Izzy go to that we’re able to continue to deliver this support.”

Charlotte's fundraising page can be found here and more information about Scotty’s Little Soldiers can be seen here.