Ian McLeod, Chairman of the Hawick Branch of Legion Scotland, is taking part in Poppyscotland’s national fundraising campaign to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
And Ian is now making his final push to complete his challenge of raising £1,918 for Poppyscotland.
This Saturday (27th October), he will undertake a challenging cycle route of 87 miles, visiting 19 different War Memorials within the Borders area where a Poppy Cross will be left as a mark of respect on behalf of the Hawick Branch of Legion Scotland.
The visits will be very brief due to the distance and time factors. The estimated times of arrival at each Memorial are listed in the schedule, which can be downloaded here.
If you are in the area please show your support by joining these very brief acts of Remembrance as Ian makes his final push in the Poppy Pledge of raising £1,918 by accumulating at least 1,918 miles.
Ian heard about The 1918 Poppy Pledge through the branch, and explains why he took up the challenge: “At the Hawick Branch, we are very active in our support of the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal. We feel strongly about providing support to our veterans. What’s more, we want to say ‘thank you’ to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, or were injured in conflicts, and especially on this very important anniversary of the end of the First World War.
“I will be cycling 1,918 miles between the 1st August and 31st October. This is being done locally and the miles will be covered mainly on local rides within Hawick and the Borders, with some taking place in other parts of the country. I will need to cover an average 150 miles per week to achieve this, which I’ll fit in along with my full-time job! Yes, it is a tough challenge, but it’s one I’m up for.”
Ian served with The King’s Own Scottish Borderers from 1971 to 1977 having joined up at the tender age of just 15 years old and nine months; the last year of so-called “Boy Soldiers”. He spent time in Belfast, Berlin and Inverness. Some years later, he joined the Territorial Army after realising there were many things he missed about Army life. He served in the TA for 18 years. Ian adds: “As a veteran myself, I’ve always felt an affiliation with any charity that supports ex-Service personnel. And if I can do something I enjoy and it benefits someone else then that’s fantastic.”
Enjoyment for Ian comes when he is out and about on his bike. He started cycling in his 40s and, in his own words, it “opened up my eyes to what is on my own doorstep”. He is keen to point out that fundraising for a charity such as Poppyscotland does not necessarily have to be an arduous undertaking.
Ian says: “It doesn’t have to be a physical challenge if you want to raise funds to make a difference to someone’s life. Get out there and do something you enjoy. It is important that veterans know the help is out there, so spread the word when you’re doing your bit.”
Gordon Michie, Head of Fundraising for Poppyscotland, said: “In this important centenary year, The 1918 Poppy Pledge has inspired groups, schools, businesses, clubs and organisations around the country to take on the challenge of raising £1,918 which will provide a lasting tribute to those who fell in the First World War.
“The fundraising efforts by Ian are nothing short of Herculean, and it is Pledgers such as these that will allow us to make a step change in the scale of support Poppyscotland is able to provide those in the Armed Forces community who rely on our support today.”
Poppyscotland provides and funds a variety of services for veterans. They aim to help as many people in the Armed Forces community as possible.
Gordon added: “We support people of all ages, whether difficulties have arisen during time in the Armed Forces or many years later. We also help the families of ex-Servicemen and ex-Servicewomen, including partners, widows, widowers and children.”