Fundraising to mark poppy’s 100th year

A YEAR-LONG fundraising initiative is being launched ahead of the 100th anniversary of the poppy’s launch.

Poppyscotland will mark the centenary of the symbol in November 2021.

The initiative challenges people to raise funds for Poppyscotland over 12 months, from today until  2021, in any way they choose.

The first cloth poppies went on sale in the UK on 11 November 1921, as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives serving in the Great War.

More than nine million were sold, raising £106,000 to help veterans integrate back into society.

The first fundraiser to take on this year’s “Poppy Pledge” was Sadie Gillespie from Montrose.

Inspired to get involved after visiting the Balmashanner war memorial in Forfar, which was dedicated by Queen Mary in 1921 to pay homage to more than 400 local men who fought in the First World War, Gillespie is part of a team hoping to raise thousands for Poppyscotland in the coming 12 months.

She said: “A lot of people think that Poppyscotland is just about the poppy appeal but they need to raise money all year round.

“The pandemic has had a massive impact on this year’s appeal so it is more important than ever that we go the extra mile to ensure that our armed forces community can still get the support they need.

“No one would have thought when the Balmashanner memorial was built in 1921 that a century later we’d still need to raise money to support our veterans, but so long as they need our help, I’ll do my bit.

“We’re having a sponsored walk, an online auction and selling handcrafted poppies – we’ve already raised more than £1,000 and are just getting started.”

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising at Poppyscotland, said: “Since its foundation, the symbol of the poppy has always had a dual purpose as our national symbol of remembrance and, importantly, as a means to raise funds to support our armed forces community.

“It’s only right that we honour the centenary of the poppy with an exciting fundraising challenge like this.

“Whether it’s tackling the Munros, running a marathon, hosting a virtual tea party or riding your bike 100 miles, it doesn’t matter.

“We’d like to see as many people as possible join us in taking on a challenge to commemorate the last 100 years of the poppy.”

He added: “The support we received during the annual Scottish poppy appeal was fantastic, but it’s been an incredibly challenging time.

“Thousands of our volunteers have been unable to get out and collect as they normally would and so the 1921 poppy pledge takes on an even great importance for us.

“As we approach the centenary of the poppy we want to show our armed forces community that we stand behind them, always.”

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