Supporting military families is our core objective, here some families we support tell their story;
BROOME Family – Royal Navy
The girls Dad Dan Broome is a Chief Petty Officer Weapons Engineer currently serving on HMS Portland. He has been on three deployments since Olivia (7) was born; the most recent deployment was nine months. Dan has been on the ship for three years in May and within those years has spent the majority of it away.
Keeping in touch with their Daddy is something that the family works hard at. Dan emails every day if he can, He’ll also call whenever he can. When at sea they have a 30 minutes phone call each week. Unfortunately the WIFI connection isn’t strong enough for Skype. The children send out parcels with treats and things that the girls have made. Dan returns eblueys and postcards to them. In his eblueys he will write a letter and draw a picture for them to colour.
“I want my kids to be proud of the job their daddy does and realise how important it is.” The girls have visited daddy’s ship lots when they are at home and know the job he does onboard and where he is. The family tracks him on the globe and count down the sleeps in stages (9 months was too much to count down at once).
Nicky first heard of Little Troopers when she had an email advertising the competition for the calendar, She said; “Dan had just deployed and I felt the picture of the girls waving him off did captivate our military life. Since then I registered and joined the Facebook page. I love the activity ideas. I applied for a visit to Lapland UK and was accepted. Christmas was always going to be difficult this year but going to Lapland put the magic back in for all of us.”
ALDERTON Family – Royal Air Force
Living off base and being unmarried provides all sorts of barriers to a military family as is well known by Claire and her daughter Isabella. Isabella’s Dad and Claire’s fiancé is a Corporal in the RAF and away from home up to seven months of the year. They have had to cancel wedding dates twice because of another posting.
Claire adds “I find the amount of support to be minimal as we live off camp and are unmarried” Isabella goes to a school where there are very few military children, and her friends fathers aren’t in the Forces.
Isabella and Claire have been to the Little Troopers Summer Camp and recently were selected to go to Lapland as Ben was away this Christmas. When talking about the charity Claire said: “I think things like the Little Troopers camp are brilliant, as it gives Isabella the chance to mix with children who understand what its like to mainly “talk” to Daddy by text and to spend your weekends thinking of what to put in parcels to him, and the highs and lows of waving him off and picking him up.”
Claire adds, “It feels like you are part of the Little Troopers family, it is very easy to engage with the charity via social media and you get to know people very quickly that go along to things like the camps, and it is easy to talk instantly as you all have something in common and are able to laugh about the good and bad things about being a military partner.”
MONKS Family – British Army
Nadine’s husband serves in the Royal Engineers and is currently based in Chilwell. Nadine lives in her own home with their three children; two boys aged eight and ten and a little girl aged three.
Nadine’s husband has been away more times than she can count and each time brings different challenges as the family gets bigger and the children grow older. The last deployment was the most difficult as he was away for Christmas and the family live off patch away from his current posting.
The family do welfare parcels every week, each of the children have a build a bear with a personalised message from dad and the eldest boy does a scrap book of events to talk about and show him when he gets back.
Nadine discovered Little Troopers last year and have become huge fans, she adds ; “We attended the summer camp, which was a great way for us to reconnect after a very unsettling couple of years due to two moves in quick succession and a time of high stress for the family. Going to Lapland with Little Troopers was bitter sweet for us as my husband was away over Christmas, being on my own is difficult and Louise and her team were so helpful and cheery, it meant a lot.”
Royal Navy Family
Naomi lives in her own home with her husband and two girls. Naomi’s husband Steve serves as a Chef on one of the Royal Navy’s Destroyer Ships. He’s been deployed twice in 2 ½ years missing two Christmases and the birth of his first child Meredith.
Naomi said “Having to explain again and again that Daddy isn’t coming home yet is heartbreaking. And they’re so little I have to explain quite frequently! At times Meredith gets quite tearful and can’t explain why. We make sure to spend time talking about what daddy does at work and how much he loves us.”
The family keep in touch via emails most of the time as unfortunately Skype is nearly always a disaster. Naomi discovered Little Troopers recently and uses several of the resources and took the girls to Lapland UK, she adds “The separation pack in particular is brilliant! It has lots of ideas for the children to countdown, and things for them to send out to daddy too. Having a map and stickers is a great activity too. Our girls are nuts for stickers!”