Scottish Poppy Appeal launched by Judy Murray

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Scottish poppiesImage source, Catherine Lyst

The Scottish Poppy Appeal has been launched by tennis coach and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Judy Murray.

It is hoped this year's appeal will top the £2.64m raised last year to provide support and assistance to ex-service personnel and their families.

Ms Murray launched the two-week campaign at Stirling Castle.

A number of landmarks will be lit up in red over the next fortnight, including the Kelpies, Inverness Castle and the Edinburgh Airport tower.

Poppies will also be displayed on the M8 grass pyramids at Bathgate and the Heavy Horse at Baillieston.

Next Monday, Fields of Remembrance - featuring thousands of crosses put up by volunteers - will be opened in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh and Cavell Gardens in Inverness.

A Field of Remembrance will open in Glasgow's George Square the following day.

Image caption,
Strictly Come Dancing contestant Judy Murray launched the appeal

At the launch of the campaign on Tuesday, Ms Murray said she was "very proud" to be involved in the fundraising drive.

She said: "My dad served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, one of my grandfathers was in the Royal Engineers and my other grandfather was in the RAF.

"They were obviously in the First World War, so I have very strong links in that sense."

Ms Murray, the mother of Britain's number one tennis player Andy Murray, added: "I went to a fundraiser last year in Glasgow and listened to the stories of a number of people who had lost wives or husbands or sons or daughters in conflicts.

"Some people had been wounded or mentally traumatised by what they had witnessed and you realise the impact it has on the families and how important it is to provide that emotional and financial support to help them recover.

"It's very important to be able to support the families who have lost someone and the servicemen recovering."

A national Remembrance Sunday service, organised by Legion Scotland, will be held in Edinburgh on 9 November while Armistice Day, on Tuesday 11 November, will be marked with a two-minute silence at 11:00.

Money raised from the Scottish Poppy Appeal will be used by Poppyscotland to provide practical support to members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland, from specialist advice and employment support, to home adaptations, mobility aids and tailored funding packages.

Royal Navy Lt Cdr Billy Adam, who joined Ms Murray at the launch along with his family, added: "This is always a great time of year for bringing the public and the Armed Forces community together.

"It gives us that platform not only to remember those that have been lost in the past but remember those who are still serving."

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