Galloway Motorcycle Club raise more than £4,000 for Poppyscotland by completing 1921 Poppy Pledge

Galloway Motorcycle Club completed their 1921 Poppy Pledge, raising more than £4,000 to support the Armed Forces in the process.

The club completed 1,921 miles around Scotland to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Poppy Appeal and to raise vital funds for the charity.

Stewart Gray, chairman of road runs in the club said: “We fundraise for a different charity every year and I happened to come across Poppyscotland’s 1921 Poppy Pledge challenge to mark the 100th anniversary of the Poppy Appeal.

My daughter and son-in-law both served in the Royal Navy, so this challenge was particularly close to my heart as I truly believe that all ex-servicemen and women that have suffered due to their experiences should have access to the support they need. We have a duty to help care for them.

“When we started to discuss what we would do for the challenge, fortunately I had been gifted an excellent book — ‘The Motorcyclists Guide to Scotland’ which helped us choose the runs we would ride to cover the 1,921 miles.

“We selected nine one-day rides covering Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders, and the Isle of Arran, and for each route we added stops at local war memorials so the riders could pay their respects.”

The club was re-established in 2018 and has nearly 200 members across the country from Inverness to as far afield as Yeovil in Somerset. It is inclusive to all no matter their age, ability or riding experience.

One of the club’s riders, Crispin Bardsley said: “As a disabled rider, I have so much empathy for those that have been injured during their time of service, and to know that we were raising money for such a worthy cause, doing something we all enjoy, really made the challenge unforgettable.

“We kicked off our first run ‘Around the Merrick’ in May at the memorial garden at Wallaceton near Dunscore and covered 202 miles with 27 riders.

“We then rode 262 miles through the Borders, ‘Riding the Marches’ and 166 miles from Moffat to Strathaven and back.

“The Solway and Carrick coast was next, then in July we enjoyed a brilliant run through the Campsie Fells and Trossachs. The Hawick, Dawyck and Hermitage Castle run in August was a day of very enjoyable riding with sunshine and blue skies.

“Haddington to Hawick was a long day but we eventually found the chip shop in Gullane near Aberlady, the fish and chips were worth the 244-mile round trip.

“My favourite run was Isle of Arran in September, 252 miles of exciting roads, fresh sea-air, and the stunning landscape.

“We only finished the Poppy Pledge challenge a few days ago with our final run around Moffat and Selkirk.”

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising and learning at Poppyscotland said: “The Covid-19 pandemic halted all our major fundraising events, yet we have continued to provide uninterrupted support to the Armed Forces community and their families.

“Our work relies on supporters like The Galloway Motorcycle Club, who not only help raise the crucial funds we need, but also champion our mission that those who have served or are still serving are deserving of our support to live life fully without disadvantage after service.

“On behalf of the whole Poppyscotland team, I want to send my upmost thanks to the riders for taking on the 1921 Poppy Pledge challenge.”

Galloway Motorcycle Club chairman, Fraser Dykes said: “It has been an honour to support Poppyscotland in their centenary year, and I would like to thank all the riders that took part and all of our members and supporters who contributed to helping us surpass our fundraising target reaching a total of more than £4,000.”

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