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Scotland boss sees poppies head off across the country

This news post is almost 7 years old

Rugby legend Gregor Townsend witnessed Poppy Scotland's national uplift

A rugby hero visited an Edinburgh poppy factory to witness the hard work that goes into making the tributes.

Scotland national rugby head coach Gregor Townsend MBE was at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory on Thursday to be a part of the Poppyscotland ‘national uplift’ – a special occasion to mark the day that the 4,500,000 poppies begin the journey to the four corners of the country ahead of the 2017 Scottish Poppy Appeal.

The factory has a workforce of 40 ex-servicemen, the large majority of whom are registered disabled, and has been producing tributes to Britain's servicemen and women for many years. It was set up by Lady Haig – wife of Field Marshall Earl Haig – in 1926.

Townsend has previously done his bit for Poppyscotland when he took part in the Hearts and Heroes Challenge – a 12-hour walking challenge along a 29-mile course in the Borders – and he is encouraging the charity’s supporters to go the extra mile this year in their fundraising efforts.

The Scotland coach took a tour of the factory, meeting those who craft the poppies throughout the year, and even tried his hand at making one.

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising at Poppyscotland, said: “The national uplift is a major milestone for us. It marks the culmination of a year of hard work by our veterans and means our biggest fundraiser is just around the corner.”

Townsend, who was born in Galashiels, became Scotland head coach earlier this year having previously been in the set-up as an assistant coach between 2009 and 2012 and winning 82 caps as a player. He is a former coach of club side Glasgow Warriors and was a player-coach for Border Reivers.