Erskine chief quits to head up family firm

THE former head of Poppy Scotland has left the veterans charity Erskine to take over his family business from his father.

Major Jim Panton stood down as chief executive of the organisation, which has provided nursing and medical care for former members of the Armed Forces since 1916, last week.

He takes over as chairman of Panton McLeod, a water engineering company based in the Borders.

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Panton's departure is a blow for Erskine just two years after the 42-year-old took up the post, but he insisted the charity is in a good position to face challenging times ahead.

He said: "I absolutely enjoyed my time there. There are really good people and it is a highly rewarding organisation to be a part of.

"Like all charities - particularly those linked to local government funding - there are significant challenges ahead."

Despite major expansion over the past ten years, Erskine's reserves remain around the 38 million mark. While the charity is looking to make efficiency savings, it does not expect to cut services.

Sir Clive Fairweather, a former SAS commander, said Panton will be sorely missed. He said: "I am a great admirer of Jim. He is young and innovative and will be a great loss."

James Scott, chairman of Erskine, also paid tribute. "He has made a significant contribution to the work of Erskine," he said.

"We wish him every success and now launch a search for a new chief executive of no less calibre than Jim."

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