The 1921 Poppy Pledge is a year-long celebration in honour of the iconic poppy
A fundraising drive has been launched to mark the centenary of the poppy.
As a very challenging 2020 Scottish Poppy Appeal reaches its peak on Armistice Day, Poppyscotland has launched a 12-month fundraising initiative as it prepares to commemorate 100 years of the poppy in November 2021.
The 1921 Poppy Pledge is a year-long celebration in honour of the iconic poppy, known worldwide as a symbol of remembrance and support for the armed forces community. The initiative challenges people to raise funds for Poppyscotland over 12 months, from Remembrance Day 2020 to 2021, in any way they choose.
Fundraisers can choose from gold, silver and bronze goals, each of which outline how much money is required to fund some of the life-changing services Poppyscotland provides to the Armed Forces community living throughout Scotland, including specialist advice, employment support, home adaptations and funding packages.
This initiative follows the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal, which has been in place for 99 years.
On November 11 1921, the first cloth poppies were sold in the UK as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives serving in the Great War. More than nine million were sold, raising £106,000 to help veterans integrate back into society upon returning home.
The first fundraiser to take on the Poppy Pledge was Sadie Gillespie from Montrose. Inspired to get involved after visiting the Balmashanner War Memorial in Forfar, which was dedicated by Queen Mary in 1921 to pay homage to more than 400 local men in the First World War, she is part of a team hoping to raise thousands for Poppyscotland in the coming 12 months.
Gillespie said: “A lot of people think that Poppyscotland is just about the Poppy Appeal but they need to raise money all year round. The pandemic has had a massive impact on this year’s appeal so it is more important than ever that we go the extra mile to ensure that our armed forces community can still get the support they need.
“No one would have thought when the Balmashanner Memorial was built in 1921 that a century later we’d still need to raise money to support our veterans, but so long as they need our help, I’ll do my bit. We’re having a sponsored walk, an online auction and selling handcrafted poppies – we’ve already raised over £1000 and are just getting started.”
Gordon Michie, head of fundraising at Poppyscotland, said: “Since its foundation, the symbol of the poppy has always had a dual purpose as our national symbol of remembrance and, importantly, as a means to raise funds to support our Armed Forces community. It’s only right that we honour the centenary of the poppy with an exciting fundraising challenge like this.
“Whether it’s tackling the Munros, running a marathon, hosting a virtual tea party or riding your bike 100 miles, it doesn’t matter. We’d like to see as many people as possible join us in taking on a challenge to commemorate the last 100 years of the poppy.
“The support we received during the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal was fantastic, but it’s been an incredibly challenging time. Thousands of our volunteers have been unable to get out and collect as they normally would and so the 1921 Poppy Pledge takes on an even great importance for us. As we approach the centenary of the poppy we want to show our armed forces community that we stand behind them, always.”
For more information on the 1921 Poppy Pledge, visit https://www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-involved/poppypledge/