A SECOND World War veteran helped launch the 90th Scottish Poppy Appeal today (Thurs).
William Walker, 90, joined soldiers from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS) as they formed a giant ‘90’ shape, celebrating the anniversary of the annual November campaign.
He was joined by two young serving soldiers, Fusilier Paul Taylor, 21, from Tulloch and Lance Corporal Nickki Drummond, 25, from Cumbernauld, to call for the Scottish public to dig deep to support the Scottish Poppy Appeal.
Mr Walker, who was wounded inBurmain 1943 while serving with the Royal Scots, said: “I was just a lad when I was shot in World War II and it was a terrifying experience.
“The Scottish Poppy Appeal was there for our boys then and it is comforting to know that it is still here, helping the men and women who are coming back fromAfghanistantoday with terrible injuries. The Scottish Poppy Appeal changes lives and I would ask people to be generous when they are buying their poppy this year. ”
Poppyscotland, the charity that runs the Scottish Poppy Appeal, uses money raised from the Appeal to provide support to veterans of all ages and from all conflicts.
In recent years Poppyscotland has seen an increase of 84% in its average expenditure per beneficiary and the charity needs to raise more money as it believes there will be an increase in the numbers of veterans needing its support in the future.
This is a result of more severely injured Service people surviving battlefield injuries, a likely increase in cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as the unique nature of Service life, which means that veterans can have problems adapting to civilian life and may struggle with housing, employment and social isolation issues.
Ian McGregor, Chief Executive of Poppyscotland, said: “This is a very important year for Poppyscotland. When the Scottish Poppy Appeal was created in 1921 no-one would have considered that ninety years on it would still be needed.
“Sadly, it is needed as much now as it ever was, with more and more veterans requiring a great deal of support to help them deal with often complex and multiple needs. That’s why we are calling for the Scottish public to give as much as they can to the Appeal to ensure that veterans and their families andScotlandwill receive the help they need and deserve now and in the future.”
As part of the 90th anniversary celebrations an independent historian has compiled an account of the history of the Scottish Poppy Appeal, to highlight its origins and the driving force behind it.
A two-week TV and radio advertising campaign was also launched today, with the theme of Unforgettable, which will help the charity convey how the poppy helps veterans today, while still keeping remembrance at its core but reflecting it in a positive and forward-looking way.