Plea for poppy collectors in Kirkcaldy

Lesley Laird with volunteer John Parkinson
Lesley Laird with volunteer John Parkinson

An appeal has been made for more volunteers to help out with this year’s Poppy Appeal in Kirkcaldy.

With the number of collectors for the annual Poppyscotland appeal dwindling in recent years, the town was left without any last year until Ian Watson, branch director of MKM building supplies in Kirkcaldy, stepped in to help.

Lesley Laird at the Lady Haig factory in Edinburgh with Arthur Dyke

Lesley Laird at the Lady Haig factory in Edinburgh with Arthur Dyke

With just weeks to go until Remembrance Day Ian, who wanted to do something for the appeal after visiting the grave of his great uncle who was killed in France in 1915, offered his assistance.

“I asked around the workplace and lots of the staff were also willing to help out,” he said.

“I originally thought we could put a collection tin in the office, but when I heard there were no collectors in the town and people wouldn’t be able to get poppies, I said we would take on the area organiser’s role.

“With such a short time it was daunting when 40,000 poppies were delivered, but we managed to distribute them to the schools and workplaces on a list that had been drawn up, plus others we thought of.

“I then contacted the Mercat and staff went out on their lunch breaks, and we managed to raise another £1000, with many people coming up to us and telling us some very moving stories.

“I am sure we got as much out of it as Poppyscotland did,” added Ian who, along with his colleagues raised a mammoth £14,000 in just three weeks.

He has since visited the charity’s headquarters at the Lady Haig factory in Edinburgh which Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird also visited recently to see the work done by the dedicated team of veterans who hand-make five million poppies for the appeal each year.

Established by Lady Haig – wife of Field Marshall Earl Haig – in 1926, Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to the Armed Forces community. The charity assists those who have served, are still serving, and their families in times of need by offering practical advice, assistance and funding.

Last year the Poppy Appeal raised nearly £3m across Scotland, thanks to the generosity of businesses, individuals and the charity’s 10,000 volunteers who distribute poppies and collection tins.

Ms Laird said: “I’m urging more volunteers to follow Ian’s example this year, the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, and register in advance to boost the appeal in Kirkcaldy and surrounding areas.”