Poppyscotland’s national fundraising campaign to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War has captured the imagination of the nation, and none more so than a Borders cycling sensation who is in the midst of a challenge that is requiring him to cover 1,918 miles on his bike in fewer than 100 days…

Ian McLeod, Chairman for the Hawick Branch of Legion Scotland, heard about The 1918 Poppy Pledge through the branch, and explains why he took up the challenge: “Our Branch feel strongly about providing support to our veterans. What’s more, we want to say ‘thank you’ to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, or were injured, especially on this anniversary of the end of the Great War.

“I will be cycling 1,918 miles between the 1st of August and 31st October. This is being done locally and the miles will be covered mainly on local rides within Hawick and the Borders, with some taking place in other parts of the country. I will need to cover an average 150 miles per week to achieve this, which I’ll fit in along with my full-time job! Yes, it is a tough challenge, but it’s one I’m up for.”

As part of the challenge, Ian will also being taking part in the annual Poppyscotland Sportive. The Sportive is one of Scotland’s top cycling events and will see 1,000 riders taking on one of three distances – 45, 66 or 100 miles – to raise funds for the charity. Ian will be tackling the longest of the routes. Ian expects to break the 1,918-mile barrier on October 27th when he will tour a series of war memorials in the Borders.

Ian served with The King’s Own Scottish Borderers having joined up at the tender age of just 15 years old and nine months; the last year of so-called ‘Boy Soldiers’. He spent time in Belfast, Berlin and Inverness. Some years later, he joined the Territorial Army after realising there were many things he missed about Army life. He served in the TA for 18 years.

Gordon Michie, Head of Fundraising for Poppyscotland, said: “The fundraising efforts by Ian are nothing short of Herculean, and it is Pledgers such as these that will allow us to make a step change in the scale of support Poppyscotland is able to provide those in the Armed Forces community who rely on our support today.”