Ex-soldier Jim calls a halt to poppy career

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After half-a-century in uniform and with service charity Poppyscotland, Galashiels ex-soldier Jim Macfarlane has marched into retirement.

As this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal got under way, staff at Poppyscotland bid farewell to Jim, 65, and a holder of the BEM, after 21 years’ service to the charity.

Jim, who lives in Galashiels with his wife Elizabeth, was in the Scots Guards for 30 years, spending the majority of his service in the 1st Battalion and reaching the rank of regimental sergeant major.

He was commissioned as a captain in 1984 and subsequently took up a post as recruiting officer at Edinburgh Castle, where he was also arena master for the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo from 1986 to 1992.

Jim then joined Poppyscotland and his role as grants co-ordinator saw him involved in the implementation and delivery of support to help veterans and their families in need.

These included one-off and annual grants to help meet urgent financial need, funding to help support the work of specialist organisations and respite breaks to give families and couples much-needed opportunities to recuperate.

Jim was also responsible for running the charity’s successful mobility scheme, whereby he would source second-hand electric-powered vehicles, organise their refurbishment and then allocate them to veterans with mobility issues.

Speaking about his time at Poppyscotland, Jim said the role had been rewarding, particularly when he was able to intervene and help people.

“My highlight would be every time we’ve assisted an ex-serviceman and woman return to a normal life, thanks to the ever-generous Scottish public,” he said.

Jim has also been a familiar face at the annual Garden of Remembrance ceremony in Edinburgh and as parade marshal at Royal British Legion Scotland conferences.