JUDY Murray has launched this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal, a cause that has strong links with her family.
The tennis coach was happy to take time out from rehearsing for Strictly Come Dancing to return to Scotland and join the annual fundraising drive.
She met Royal Navy Lt Commander Billy Adams, his wife Cheryl and their daughter Megan at Stirling Castle to promote the campaign.
They each adorned a poppy and even held up poppy umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain.
Ms Murray said she was “very proud” to be involved in the campaign.
“My dad served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, one of my grandfathers was in the Royal Engineers and my other grandfather was in the RAF - they were obviously in the First World War - so I have very strong links in that sense,” she said.
“I’m very, very proud to be asked to launch the poppy appeal. I went to a fundraiser last year in Glasgow and listened to the stories of a number of people who had lost wives or husbands or sons or daughters in conflicts.
“Some people had been wounded or mentally traumatised by what they had witnessed and you realise the impact it has on the families and how important it is to provide that emotional and financial support to help them recover.
“It’s very important to be able to support the families who have lost someone and the servicemen recovering.
“That is something that can take a very long time so it’s so important that support is there and the poppy appeal goes such a long way towards providing that support.”
Poppyscotland, the charity that organises the appeal, uses the money raised to provide support to Armed Forces, personnel, veterans and their families.
Programmes include employment support, home adaptions and specialist advice.
The appeal runs until November 11 and a number of Scottish landmarks such as Edinburgh Castle and The Kelpies will be lit up in red over the next two weeks to support the campaign.
The appeal is particularly poignant this year as the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is marked.
Lt Commander Adams said: “This is always a great time of year for bringing the public and the Armed Forces community together, it gives us that platform not only to remember those that have been lost in the past but remember those who are still serving.
“This (poppy appeal) was formed after the Great War and it’s still here today, and means so much to many people.
“We are marking a centenary from the outbreak of war so it takes on added significance this year and the fact that it is still going strong just shows the amount of support Armed Forces personnel do get from the general public every day.”
Mrs Adams, who used to also serve in the Royal Navy, said: “The poppy is massively important to the people serving at the moment, it’s not just about World War One and Two, there are still troops serving and families needing support.
“For anyone serving abroad there is often a family left at home and both sides need support and this time of year is about thinking of all of them.”
The couple’s 11-year-old daughter Megan is involved in the fundraising drive for a second year in a row after recording a charity song with the Poppy Girls last year.
She said: “I’m really proud of my dad but we all miss him when he’s away.
“It’s important to support the poppy appeal because I know it will be there to help me and my family if we need it.”