News story

Bereaved military families given a FAB time

The Ravens parachute display team joined bereaved Service families in Scarborough recently to offer them a heroes' welcome.

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Six-and-a-half-year-old Hamish Trotter greets a paratrooper from the Ravens display team [Picture: Corporal Gabriel Moreno, Crown copyright]
Six-and-a-half-year-old Hamish Trotter greets a paratrooper

The families were taking part in a week in Yorkshire, organised by Family Activity Breaks (FAB), a tri-Service scheme that provides breaks for families of bereaved Service personnel.

Various watersports and horse riding were among the activities that occupied the 18 parents and 33 children during their week-long break. The arrival of ‘The Ravens’ – the Parachute Regiment Reserves freefall team – on Friday 2 August was the highlight of the break for the families from all over the country as well as hundreds of delighted holidaymakers.

Hamish Trotter, aged 6-and-a-half from Newburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was chosen to be FAB’s “inspecting officer” and greeted the formal line up of paratroopers from 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment.

A paratrooper landing on Scarborough Beach
A paratrooper from the Ravens parachute display team landing on Scarborough Beach [Picture: Corporal Gabriel Moreno, Crown copyright]

We have had a wonderful welcome throughout Yorkshire but especially in Scarborough where the families have benefited from the Heroes Welcome scheme,” said Lieutenant Colonel Belinda Forsythe, the project director. “Scarborough is a forces friendly town and their kindness and generosity towards our FAB families really has been appreciated. They have benefited from all kinds of things from rock to fish and chips and buckets and spades to concert tickets. We have really been spoilt.

The military family has also gone the extra mile and The Yorkshire Regiment has provided its paintball range and inflatable assault course while the Parachute Regiment Reserve has made it a special Yorkshire Day by dropping in and delighting young and old alike.

The FAB week is a starting point for many of our families. It is a unique opportunity for these families to meet and support one another on the long journey back into normal life after their bereavement. They draw strength from others in the same position and it gives them the confidence to rebuild their lives.

Children play at Scarborough Beach
Children play at Scarborough Beach during the Family Activity Breaks day out [Picture: Corporal Gabriel Moreno, Crown copyright]

Family Activity Breaks

FAB is a non-public funded, tri-Service initiative in partnership with the Youth Hostels Association, providing fun and challenging activity holidays around the UK for bereaved Military families.

It was originally conceived in early 2008 and run as a highly successful pilot in the summer of 2009 where 24 families attended at two locations: Coverack in Cornwall and Whitby in North Yorkshire.

FAB is staffed by volunteers from the Armed Forces, Defence civilians and ex-Service personnel, helping as mentors, lending a helping hand or simply being someone to talk to. They are all trained by a bereavement counselling service who specialise in supporting children and young adults facing bereavement.

Published 5 August 2013