Selkirk family take on the 2.6 challenge for PoppyScotland.

As London Marathon is among the many mass events to be cancelled this year, the nation’s charities are losing out on their largest single-day fundraiser of the year.

By Kevin Janiak
Friday, 1st May 2020, 11:42 am
Fiona and David Deacon
Fiona and David Deacon

Selkirk couple, forces veterans David and Fiona Deacon, are doing a series of challenges to help out one of those good causes, PoppyScotland.

Fiona, who hit the headlines in 2014 when she was the first woman to cast a flag in Selkirk’s Common Riding festivities, when she proudly raised the Ex-Servicemen’s banner, is one of Poppy Scotland’s welfare support workers, and she and David are joining the 2.6 challenge.

So far, Fiona has shaved David’s hair in less than 2.6 minutes, David is doing 26 laps of his 26m garden for 26 days – mirroring Tom Moore’s exploits, though at a younger age – and their daughter Rhian is baking 26 poppy-shaped cookies to hand out to veterans in the town.

Fiona Deacon cuts husband David's hair in less than 2.6 minutes.

And the couple are urging others to try similar challenges.

In a plea on Facebook, Fiona, who served nearly 20 years in the military police, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on communities across the country, and the armed forces community is no different.

“From those selflessly serving in our military on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus, to veterans who were already struggling with issues such as social isolation, financial hardship, housing difficulties and mental health issues.

We’re anticipating unprecedented demand on our life-changing services in the days and weeks ahead, but this comes at a time when we’ve been forced to cancel numerous fundraising events.

“Unless we do something now, it could have a devastating impact on our ability to do what we do best.

“That’s why we’ve joined forces with charities across the country to launch the 2.6 Challenge.

“Whether you want to run 2.6 miles as part of your daily exercise, juggle for 26 minutes or climb your stairs 26 times, we’re asking you to dream up an idea that will encourage your friends and family to dig deep and sponsor you in support of Poppyscotland.

“Although we’re in a lockdown, myself and the rest of the PoppyScotland welfare team are still here to support veterans and their families every single day.

“We’re hearing stories of people struggling financially to get even essential items and of people who are experiencing poor mental health, with increased social isolation; missing family and loved ones.

“These people have sacrificed so much for our country and I believe we must be there for them now, more than ever.

“So please, join us in the 2.6 challenge, have some fun and lets raise lots of money together.

“With your help, together we can show the armed forces community that we are behind them. Always.

“Thank you and stay safe.”