Braidwood man’s dad inspired his 15 year stint with Poppyscotland

It was his dad Ross who first inspired Adrian Hunt to volunteer with Poppyscotland. He has been overseeing the Poppy Appeal in Braidwood and the Clyde Valley for 15 years and it's something he very much looks forward to.
It was his dad Ross who first inspired Adrian Hunt to volunteer with Poppyscotland. He has been overseeing the Poppy Appeal in Braidwood and the Clyde Valley for 15 years and it's something he very much looks forward to.

The annual poppy appeal in Braidwood and the Clyde Valley has been ably managed by Adrian Hunt for the past 15 years.

A military history enthusiast, it was in fact his dad Ross who inspired Adrian to volunteer.

Despite austerity, Adrian is delighted that the campaign in his Braidwood and Clyde Valley patch regularly brings in around �3000 for the Armed Forces charity.

Despite austerity, Adrian is delighted that the campaign in his Braidwood and Clyde Valley patch regularly brings in around �3000 for the Armed Forces charity.

Initially, he distributed poppies and collection cans to businesses and schools, as well as doing a door-to-door collection.

But in recent years, Adrian – who works as a support staff member for the Scottish Ambulance Service – has focused his efforts on distribution and collection.

He explained: “I found that the collection tins in Braidwood and the garden centres in the Clyde Valley were bringing in far more than me hitting the doors.

“So I decided to focus on that. I now have 16 outlets in the area, including all the garden centres from Rosebank to Silverbirch.

A common cause...from celebrities like James Cosmo to the man on the street, Adrian Hunt is delighted that, despite the times, people still donate so generously.

A common cause...from celebrities like James Cosmo to the man on the street, Adrian Hunt is delighted that, despite the times, people still donate so generously.

“They are very busy at this time of year so people always give generously and I’m very grateful to them and the businesses for their support.

“I also deliver poppies and collection tins to Braidwood and Underbank Primary Schools, as well as Crawforddyke.

“The last one is a wee bit out of my area but a neighbour where I used to live knew I was involved with the appeal and worked at the school.

“She asked if I would do it so how could I refuse? I’ve just continued with it ever since.

“All of the premises that take poppies and collection tins know that they can call me anytime should they need fresh supplies.

“I deliver about 2000 poppies every year, raising £2500 to £3000 annually.

“It’s something I always look forward to.”

Over the years, Adrian (54) has been supported on his rounds by his two grown up sons, one of whom recently followed in his grandad’s footsteps by signing up for the RAF Reserves.

Adrian’s dad was also the inspiration for him joining the poppy appeal campaign.

He explained: “My dad Ross was one of the first conscripts into national service at the end of the Second World War in 1945.

“He served two years in the RAF as an engineer and often talked about damaged aircraft lying at the side of the airfields where he was working.

“Some of the crew he worked with had been there, seen it and done it.

“My dad was only 18 at the time but he remembered listening to their stories and often talked about it.

“He told me: whatever you do, don’t forget about the sacrifices these people made – we should always remember them. That always stuck with me.

“So when the opportunity arose 15 years ago to do some volunteering, Poppyscotland was an easy choice to make.”

In fact, it was the then Braidwood post mistress who focused Adrian’s mind.

“She said there hadn’t been a collection here for two or three years,” Adrian recalled. “It dawned on me it was something I could do.”

And it’s an annual task Adrian has enjoyed every year since.

He said: “I’ve met so many lovely people and had the opportunity to engage with veterans and members of the public who regularly support the campaign.

“I’ve had a chance to give something back but I’ve also gained so much.”

How the money from the poppy appeal is spent really hit home three years ago when Adrian and his wife Heather were invited to attend the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall in London.

It’s an event that will forever be etched in both their memories.

“It was a chance to see the work that the Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland do every year for our veterans,” he said. “It’s a very moving service and there’s not a sound as the poppies fall down on the audience.

“It really brought it home to us both what the poppy appeal is all about.”

As for his role with the organisation, Adrian has no plans to give up his annual rounds just yet.

He hopes that people will once again give generously to the campaign and wear their poppy with pride.

Adrian added: “Members of the armed forces defend our liberty every day.

“Those who came before them did likewise – we’re fortunate to enjoy the liberty we have today because of the sacrifices they made.

“So it seems only fair that we look after them when they need our support.

“Despite the times we’re living in, people always give generously and we’re very grateful for their support.”

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, visit www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer.

Stars supported Poppy Appeal - but have you?

The Scottish Poppy Appeal is the country’s largest annual street collection and helps to raise millions of pounds each year which Poppyscotland uses to support the country’s Armed Forces community.

Last month, more than five million poppies and 60,000 collecting tins were distributed around Scotland to help encourage the public to wear a poppy with pride – including the many towns and villages here in Clydesdale.

Scottish stars also came out in force to launch this year’s appeal, among them Game of Thrones actor James Cosmo, celebrity chef Nick Nairn and athlete Eilidh Doyle.

Dumbarton-born James Cosmo said: “I’m proud to lend my support to this year’s Poppy Appeal and do my little bit to encourage us all to contribute to Poppyscotland as the charity continues its ongoing work to support our Armed Forces community.”

Nick Nairn (60), who is from Stirling and was the first Scottish chef to be awarded a Michelin star, said: “I will certainly be putting on my poppy with pride to remember all of those who selflessly served our country.

“It really does feel like a time when the country comes together to support a common cause; we need that more than ever in these chaotic times.”

And Perth-born Eilidh Doyle (32), who represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and won an Olympic bronze medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, said: “I’ve always worn a poppy but not really been sure about where the money goes. When I learned more about the work of Poppyscotland and the life-changing difference it makes to veterans and their families it made me realise just how vital the Scottish Poppy Appeal is.”

To donate online visit www.poppyscotland.org.uk.