We saw the 75th anniversary of the start of the Second World War and the 70th anniversary of D-Day. It was also the year in which UK Forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan, after more than a decade of combat operations. In June, Poppyscotland was proud to be the leading charity sponsor, with our parent charity, The Royal British Legion, at the national Armed Forces Day event in Stirling. The occasion was attended by thousands of serving and ex-Servicemen and women.
With many milestones marked and memories evoked, 2014 was certainly a year for reflection. Founded in the aftermath of the First World War, Poppyscotland’s roots are firmly embedded in history, however the charity has been evolving and adapting over time to meet the changing needs of Scotland’s Armed Forces community.
2013/14 saw that process continue. It was a purposeful and productive year. As part of The Royal British Legion group of charities, we continued to deliver, develop and enhance a range of services to ensure that members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland could access support and information that would make a difference to their lives. From tailored support and assistance to employment and advice services, we were able to reach even more people in need. We even marked a special anniversary of our own; our welfare centre in Inverness celebrated a year of delivering support in the North of Scotland.
The 2013 Scottish Poppy Appeal raised £2.688 million – an increase of 2.94% on the previous year. With the economy being so fragile, we were delighted with the result. As an organisation that needs to raise money 365 days a year, we were also encouraged by the results of our year-round fundraising events and activities.
I must pay tribute to the many volunteers who give up their time to support our events, but in particular, those who work so hard for us during the Scottish Poppy Appeal. The November campaign simply would not exist without the efforts of our dedicated band of men and women who work tirelessly across the whole of Scotland to help raise as much money as possible.
I must also offer, on behalf of everyone at Poppyscotland, our heartfelt thanks to the Scottish public who so generously support us each year. As a charity which is very heavily reliant on donations, we are hugely appreciative of that support. It is simply crucial in enabling us to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in the Armed Forces community. Both on my part and theirs, thank you for making that possible.