Scotland Head Coach helps to send 4,500,000 poppies on their way

Scotland national rugby Head Coach Gregor Townsend MBE visited Lady Haig's Poppy Factory (LHPF) today (Thursday) to be a part of the Poppyscotland 'National Uplift' – a special occasion to mark the day that the 4,500,000 poppies begin the journey to the four corners of the country ahead of the 2017 Scottish Poppy Appeal.

Gregor has previously done his bit for Poppyscotland when he took part in the Hearts and Heroes Challenge – a 12-hour walking challenge along a 29-mile course in the Borders – and he encouraged the charity's supporters to go the extra mile this year in their fundraising efforts.

Gregor, who enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the factory, said: "It is humbling to know that each and every poppy has been hand-produced by a disabled veteran. I am staggered at the size and scale of the operation to get these shipped in time for the Appeal starting next month. The veterans who work in the factory have gone the extra mile for us and I would encourage everyone to challenge themselves go the extra mile in support of this year's Scottish Poppy Appeal."

Gordon Michie, Head of Fundraising at Poppyscotland, said: "The national uplift is a major milestone for us. It marks the culmination of a year of hard work by our veterans and means our biggest fundraiser is just around the corner.

"We're sure the public will once again show their support in buying and wearing their poppy. While this provides a vital source of income to fund our life-changing work, we are encouraging supporters to consider going the extra mile, just as Gregor did previously. It could be a bake sale or a zip slide, but every extra penny generated for the Scottish Poppy Appeal will make a massive difference to someone in the Armed Forces community who is in need of our help."

The Poppy Factory in Edinburgh, which employs a team of 40-plus Armed Forces veterans with a range of disabilities, was set up by Lady Haig – wife of Field Marshall Earl Haig – in 1926.

Gregor, who was born in Galashiels, became Scotland head coach earlier this year having previously been in the set-up as an assistant coach between 2009 and 2012 and winning 82 caps as a player. He is a former coach of club side Glasgow Warriors and was a player-coach for Border Reivers. He has also played club rugby in Australia, England, France and South Africa. In 1999, Gregor was awarded an MBE in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to rugby.