Olympic star Callum Skinner launches Scottish Poppy Appeal

Olympic cycling star joined Scottish veterans to launch this year's Scottish Poppy Appeal. Picture: Susannah Nicol/Contributed
Olympic cycling star joined Scottish veterans to launch this year's Scottish Poppy Appeal. Picture: Susannah Nicol/Contributed
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SCOTTISH cycling hero Callum Skinner added a touch of gold dust to this year’s launch of the Scottish Poppy Appeal as he joined veterans at Waverley railway station in Edinburgh.

Callum, who has been dubbed the ‘next Chris Hoy’ after returning from Rio with a Gold in the Men’s Team Sprint, joined Scottish veterans to encourage the public to go that ‘Extra Mile’ for the Armed Forces community in Scotland.

This year, Poppyscotland is urging the Scottish public to go the extra mile for them by going above and beyond this year in their fundraising efforts.

Callum, 24, who was born in Glasgow but grew up in Edinburgh, said: “I’m honoured to be launching the 2016 Scottish Poppy Appeal for Poppyscotland.

“My Great Grandfather, Alfred Skinner, fought in the Great War, so I’m aware of the huge sacrifices the Armed Forces community make during their service.

“The charity, Poppyscotland, is one that is very close to my heart. I hope in the coming weeks that the Scottish public once again get behind the Scottish Poppy Appeal so that Poppyscotland can continue to offer their amazing support to our Armed Forces community.”

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Gordon Michie, Head of Fundraising from Poppyscotland, said: “We are delighted that such a sporting hero has joined us today 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. The shocking reality is that one in 8 veterans have a fundamental unmet need for support, and more than half suffer from a long-term illness of disability.

“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.”

One of the first people to go the extra mile for the 2016 Scottish Poppy Appeal was ScotRail Alliance Managing Director, Phil Verster. He completed a mile on a treadmill at Edinburgh Waverley station as part of a promotion aimed at raising additional funds for Poppyscotland by walking a mile in the shoes of veteran while listening to a recoding of their inspirational story.

Mr Verster said: “We’re proud to support Poppyscotland and our veterans.

“It is hugely important that people find the time to remember and respect those whom have sacrificed, and continue to make sacrifices, serving their country.

“I would encourage everyone passing through the station to take the time and walk a mile in the shoes of a veteran.”

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

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

A host of activities will take place, including poppy-up shops all over Scotland, Fields of Remembrance in Edinburgh and Inverness and the lighting up in poppy red of landmarks and structures across Scotland.

Money raised from the Scottish Poppy Appeal and Poppyscotland’s year-round fundraising enables them to deliver support to members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland by providing tailored funding and assistance.

The charity also funds services in advice, employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite.