Seeing red at charity’s Lanark Poppy probe

Lanark Remembrance Day Service was well supported (Picture Sarah Peters)
Lanark Remembrance Day Service was well supported (Picture Sarah Peters)

Offence has been taken at a probe being made into Lanark’s efforts on behalf of the nation’s biggest veterans’ charity.

Poppy Scotland, the charity which now covers the activities of the old Earl Haig Fund and British Legion annual appeals, has quizzed the local organisers of the collection for a sudden and drastic drop in the total raised in the lead-up to 2015’s Remembrance Sunday compared to the previous year’s..

For decades the Poppy appeal in Lanark and surrounding areas has been organised by the Community Council.

What appears to have sparked concern with Poppy Scotland is the sudden drop in the donations collected locally from £4002 in 2014 to £3005 in 2015.

This was reported back to the latest council meeting by treasurer Karen Brown who said: “We have had communication from Poppy Scotland and we were asked why there was such a fall in donations this year.”

Council chairman Frank Gunning said there was a simple explanation for this, saying that 2014 being the Centenary of the beginning of World War One, had made it an “exceptional” year for giving by the public.

When told that a Poppy Scotland representative was to come to Lanark to discuss the situation, Frank retorted: “Poppy Scotland is a shambles. We will listen to him but we will continue to organise the appeal how we like it and if he doesn’t like it then, tough.”

A spokesman for Poppy Scotland told the Gazette: “Every year we follow up after the Appeal to ensure that the money collected is fully accounted for and that the essential paperwork is completed. This process also highlights any collections that are significantly up or down on previous years, the reasons for which will vary.

“Just as we share best practice from the areas that are up, we have a duty to our beneficiaries and the public who support us to understand why a collection may have dropped. “