Gold medal Paralympian throws support behind Poppyscotland

24th September 2016 Fraser Bedwell

Paralympic athlete, Jo Butterfield, who won gold in Rio has today visited Poppyscotland’s Lady Haig Poppy Factory where the final poppies are being packed up and shipped across the country for the 2016 Scottish Poppy Appeal.

Jo, who returned from Rio this week after smashing her own world record and winning gold in the F51 club throw for Team GB, came to visit 40 veterans with disabilities who handcraft more than 5 million poppies each year for the Scottish Poppy Appeal.

The world champion club thrower, who is a strong supporter of the leading 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, 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.

“The dispatch of more than 5 million poppies each year is a very important day for us. It means a lot to the veterans, who have carefully made each and every poppy over the past 12 months. This year, we have seen an even higher demand for poppies and wreaths as a result of the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

“Similar to Jo in Rio, we hope that 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. Their 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.”