Veteran Ian gets on his bike for the 1918 Poppy Pledge

Ian McLeod.
Ian McLeod.

A Hawick Army veteran is cycling 1,918 miles across the Borders and beyond in 100 days in support of Poppyscotland.

Ian McLeod, 62, is taking up the 1918 Poppy Pledge, a year-long national fundraising campaign launched to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The challenge, which Ian began at the start of August, will see him cycle around 150 miles each week both across and outwith the Borders before the end of October, in aid of Poppyscotland, a charity supporting ex-services personnel and their families.

“It is a tough challenge but it’s one I’m up for,” he added.

“As a veteran myself, I’ve always felt an affiliation with any charity that supports ex-services personnel, and if I can do something I enjoy and it benefits someone else, then that’s fantastic.”

Ian, who only took up cycling in his forties, expects to break the 1,918-mile barrier on October 27, when he will tour a series of war memorials in the Borders while wearing his poppies with pride.

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, before becoming involved more heavily with the legion of late.

“At the Hawick branch, we are very active in our support of the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal,” Ian, now branch chairman there, said.

“We feel strongly about providing support to our veterans.

“What’s more, we want to say thank-you to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, or were injured in conflicts, and especially on this very important anniversary of the end of the First World War.”

Urging others to follow his lead, he added: “It doesn’t have to be a physical challenge, if you want to raise funds to make a difference to someone’s life. Get out there and do something you enjoy.

“It is important that veterans know the help is out there, so spread the word when you’re doing your bit.”

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising for Poppyscotland, added: “In this important centenary year, The 1918 Poppy Pledge has inspired groups, schools, businesses, clubs and organisations around the country to take on the challenge of raising £1,918 which will provide a lasting tribute to those who fell in the First World War.

“The fundraising efforts by Ian are nothing short of Herculean, and it is pledgers such as these that will allow us to make a step change in the scale of support Poppyscotland is able to provide those in the Armed Forces community who rely on our support today.”

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