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Gold medal Paralympian throws support behind the Scottish Poppy Appeal

This news post is almost 8 years old

From the Paralympic gold medal podium in Rio to the Lady Haig Poppy Factory in Edinburgh, Jo Butterfield shows her support for disabled veterans

Paralympic gold medalist Jo Butterfield didn't waste time in visiting Poppyscotland’s Lady Haig Poppy Factory on her return from Rio to oversee the final touches to this year’s batch of poppies.

Jo, who smashed her own world record and won gold in the F51 club throw for Team GB in Rio, visited 40 veterans with disabilities who handcraft more than five million poppies each year for the Scottish Poppy Appeal just days after returning from Rio.

The world champion club thrower, who is a strong supporter of armed forces charity Poppyscotland, is a former army civil servant. Jo was left paralysed after an operation on a tumour on her spinal cord five years ago.

Jo is an inspiration to us all and her support has given everyone a real boost at the Poppy Factory.

Jo, who lives in Glasgow and is 37 years old, said: “It was a pleasure to meet the veterans who hand make poppies all year round for the Scottish Poppy Appeal.

“It was really inspiring to hear their stories and see how the Poppy Factory has helped to change their lives for the better.

“For me, sport gave me that motivation to carry on after my own injuries five years ago. I’ve now achieved so much that I’d never thought I would ever be able to, and I’ve seen so many different parts of the world.

“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.”

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising at Poppyscotland said: “We are delighted that such a sporting hero has joined us today. Jo is an inspiration to us all and her support has given everyone a real boost at the Poppy Factory.

“Similar to Jo in Rio, we hope Poppyscotland can smash its own fundraising target and raise even more for our armed forces community in Scotland. With every penny we raise, we can make a life-changing difference to those who have served, those still serving and their families who are in desperate need of our help.”

Jo was supported in her quest to reach the Rio Games by Scottish Disability Sport.

Its chief executive Gavin McLeod added: “The team at Scottish Disability Sport (SDS) could not be prouder of Jo’s achievements at the Rio de Janeiro Summer Paralympic Games. It’s now wonderful to see Jo supporting Poppyscotland, and in turn that Poppyscotland are recognising Jo and her contribution to not only the world of disability sport, but as an inspiration to the Armed Forces and veterans in Scotland.

“If anyone has been inspired by the success of Jo and other Scottish athletes and players during the Rio Games, we would urge them to give SDS a call to find out how we can help them find their sport.”