2nd November 2017 Fraser Bedwell

The sun shone and thousands of people descended upon St Andrew Square, in Edinburgh, to enjoy an afternoon of fun and entertainment at the fourth annual Edinburgh Poppy Day. The event, which raised almost £20,000 last year, is part of the 2017 Scottish Poppy Appeal run by leading Armed Forces charity Poppyscotland.

The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) broadcast live all day as part of a roadshow which featured a variety of singers and musicians, as well as schoolchildren who bravely took to the mic to serenade a welcoming crowd. The Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland proved to be another popular attraction.

Gordon Michie, the Head of Fundraising at Poppyscotland, said: “Edinburgh Poppy Day has been absolutely brilliant from start to finish. We’ve had hundreds of volunteer collectors on the streets across the city and in the square itself handing out poppies to the people of Edinburgh who have been overwhelming once again in their support for the 2017 Poppy Appeal.

“Mercifully, the rain stayed off, which allowed all who came along to enjoy a special day, and I want to thank everyone who has volunteered to ensure everything ran smoothly. There’s no doubt the replica Spitfire proved particularly popular and I had to laugh when I overheard one visitor to the city asking a cadet: ‘Did you fly that plane in here this morning?’ It was made of fibre glass, but that didn’t stop youngsters – and a number of adults – climbing on board to have their picture taken at the controls.”

Edinburgh Poppy Day was also supported by a number of well-known capital-based firms such as Standard Life Aberdeen, Virgin Money and RBS. Tim Silbermann, a Project Manager at Standard Life Aberdeen and a veteran himself, helped co-ordinate a team of 200 or so colleagues to cover the four corners of the city as part of a fantastic fundraising drive for Poppyscotland.

Tim, who is part of the organisation’s Armed Forces Network, said: “This year, as a Network, we set ourselves the challenge to go the extra mile and make our effort even bigger and better. So we followed the same format as last year of offering employees a slot to go out with poppies and collect. And I must say that the response has been outstanding with more than 200 members of staff taking part, many of whom that were out on the streets last year, too.

“The work that Poppyscotland does is vital. Supporting our Armed Forces is important to me, having served for six years, and other people, whether they have served or not. Being able to give back to veterans and the communities in which they live is something that resonates across the country and, as an organisation, Standard Life Aberdeen is proud do be doing its part.”

Lisa Keevash, from Virgin Money, organised a team of 15 colleagues to hand out poppies at one of the entrances to St Andrew Square. Lisa, who spent 14 years in the Armed Forces which included three tours to Iraq and two in Afghanistan, said: “The Poppy Appeal is about remembering those that have been injured or made the ultimate sacrifice for us, as well as their families.”

Lisa, who joined the Army at the age of 17 but is now the Business Manager to the CEO of Virgin Money, added: “The poppy used to be a symbol for our older veterans and the two World Wars, but now it also represents current conflicts and the impacts that they have on our society today.”