Memorial visits are a fitting end to Ian's poppy pledge
A Hawick Army veteran has successfully cycled 1,918 miles across the Borders and beyond in 100 days in support of Poppyscotland.
Ian McLeod, 62, broke the 1,918-mile barrier on Saturday as he cycled between 19 of the region’s war memorials, placing a poppy cross at each one.
The challenge, which Ian began at the start of August, has seen him cycle around 150 miles each week both across and outwith the Borders, in aid of Poppyscotland, a charity supporting ex-services personnel and their families.
On Saturday Ian was joined by his grandchildren Jadyn and Lucy Jackson to lay a poppy cross in Jedburgh. At Selkirk he was greeted by members of the Ex-Servicemens’ Association and piper Kevin Turnbull, and in Hawick he was joined by town dignitaries, a piper and his grandchildren Florence and Max McLeod, who travelled from Perth, to help Ian lay a final wreath and a poppy cross.
In fact that 87-mile route around the war memorials took him to the 2,109-mile mark and helped raise more than his £1,918 target as part of the 1918 Poppy Pledge, a year-long national fundraising campaign launched to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
“The day started with a bugler playing Reveille outside Hawick town hall,” Ian said. “It ended with a piper playing a lament when I laid the last wreath at Hawick war memorial. It was quite special.”
“I was doing this on behalf of the Hawick branch of Legion Scotland,” Ian, now branch chairman there, added. “They put together a small support team that arrived at each location just before me each time on Saturday. I only had four minutes at each memorial. They were absolutely great.
“We are very active in our support of the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal and feel strongly about providing support to our veterans.”
Having joined the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, at just 15, Ian served for six years and spent time in Belfast, Berlin and Inverness. Some years later, he joined the Territorial Army, serving for 18 years.