A FORCES widow and mother of two from Thornbury is dedicating her wedding this weekend to a charity that holds a special place in her heart.

When Rachel Murphy, 46, and Martin Smith, 50, tie the knot on Saturday, the Scotty’s Little Soldiers flag will be flown at the church and the couple, who met in 2013, will be asking their guests to make a donation to the charity, instead of buying them gifts.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers has offered Rachel’s children, Steven and Emily, support following the death of their dad, Lance Corporal John Murphy in 2007.

Steven and Emily were just three and two years old when their dad died. Lance Corporal Murphy, who served for 16 years with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, took his own life on January 7, 2007.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers was set up in 2010 by war widow Nikki Scott, and now supports hundreds of children and young people across the UK who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the Armed Forces.

To say thank you for the support they have received, Rachel and Martin want Scotty’s to be part of their day. As well as donations being made to the charity and the Scotty’s flag being flown, their photographer will be a former Scotty member, Beth Wood.

Rachel said: “Scotty’s is such a big part of our lives that we wanted to have them as part of our wedding.

“Having Scotty’s as part of the day means a lot to Steven and Emily and reassures them that although I’m getting married it doesn’t mean their dad will be forgotten.

“Scotty’s has always been there, every birthday, anniversary, Remembrance Day, they make the children feel like they are not alone.

“Over the years the charity has been incredible with providing emotional well-being support to Steven, who as a teenager really struggled with his mental health and in coming to terms with why his dad did what he did. We wouldn’t have got through this dark period without Scotty’s.

Scotty’s founder Nikki Scott said: “Over the years, I’ve got to know Rachel and Martin so well and I’m incredibly grateful that they’ve decided to dedicate their special day to raising much needed funds for Scotty’s.

“The family have been through so much, and I know how supportive Martin has been and how Steven and Emily have welcomed him into the family. Rachel and Martin know how important our work is and how vital it is that we continue to raise funds to help young people, like Steven and Emily, through challenging times.