Callum Skinner launches Poppy Scotland appeal

Olympic gold medallist Callum Skinner launches the poppy appeal.
Olympic gold medallist Callum Skinner launches the poppy appeal.
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CYCLING star Callum Skinner was surrounded by poppies as he joined veterans to launch this year’s national appeal.

Crowds gathered at Waverley Station to watch the Olympic gold medallist run the ‘extra mile’ on a treadmill to promote this year’s theme of giving a little bit more.

Callum, who grew up in Edinburgh, said being given the chance to launch the Scottish Poppy Appeal was very special for both him, and his family.

He said: “I travelled up from Manchester especially for this event but it’s quite important for my family.

“My great-grandad fought in the First World War and he was medically discharged because he had mustard gas poisoning.

“Even before I got directly involved today I’ve always had a keen involvement in the Poppy Appeal.”

The 24-year-old, who was brought up in Bruntsfield added: “Our service men and women and their families devote so much to us, it’s great to give something back.

“It’s also good to keep the memory of those major conflicts alive and hopefully we will never get involved in anything so serious again.”

The News reported earlier this year that the appeal was struggling to find volunteers in parts of the city – but helpers have since come forward.

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising at Poppyscotland, said the charity was encouraging the public to go that ‘extra mile’ with donations, to recognise the hard work the armed forces put in day in, day out.

He said: “We are delighted that such a sporting hero has joined us for the launch of this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal.

“Now, more than ever before, the armed forces community needs the help of the Scottish public. That’s why we’re calling for the Scottish public to go that extra mile in their support for this year’s Poppy Appeal.

“Whether it’s putting a little bit more in the poppy tin, or doing something completely different to raise money, every penny helps us to offer life-changing support so we can be there when they call for backup.”

The Scottish Poppy Appeal, which has been running for 95 years, is Scotland’s largest street collection.

The appeal runs until Remembrance Sunday on November 13 with volunteer collectors, poppies and tins out in force.

Earlier this year, the Evening News helped Poppyscotland recruit new volunteers as numbers were continuing to dwindle.

Among the crowd was Thomas Bremner, a 43-year-old veteran, who served for nine years during the first Gulf war and two tours of Bosnia.

The father-of-three, who has been fundraising since 2012, said: “It’s really special to be here. It’s great to be able to give something back for all the good times I had in the army.”

A host of activities will take place to raise money for Poppy Scotland this year, including “poppy-up” shops all over Scotland and Fields of Remembrance in Edinburgh.

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk