Olympic rowing champion races female soldiers to support the Scottish Poppy Appeal

Susannah Nichol

Heather Stanning

Olympic champion Heather Stanning MBE has today challenged female soldiers to a rowing race-off to raise vital funds for the Scottish Poppy Appeal.

Fresh from retaining her coxless pairs gold medal for rowing in Rio, Heather took on the charity challenge with a group of female soldiers at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh – who all attempted to beat her record time of completing a mile on a rowing machine.

Stanning, who is a major in the British Army, helped to promote the theme of this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal – the ‘Extra Mile’ – by rowing a mile and encouraging the Scottish public to go above and beyond in their own fundraising efforts for this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal.

The rowing challenge was also a part of the Female Festival of Sport, which encourages women of all ages to get into sport and physical activity. Women currently make up around 10% of the Armed Forces – but the festival aims to boost female interest and participation in sport in particular.

Mark Bibbey, Chief Executive at Poppyscotland said:  

“We’re overwhelmed by Heather’s incredible support for this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal.

“Now more than ever before, the Armed Forces community needs the help of the Scottish public. The reality is that one in 8 veterans have a fundamental unmet need for support, and more than half suffer from a long-term illness of disability.

“That’s why we’re so pleased to have Heather’s support in calling on the Scottish public to go that extra mile for this year’s Poppy Appeal. Whether it’s rowing a mile at Olympic pace like Heather and the soldiers at Redford Barracks, or simply popping a bit more in the poppy tin, every penny helps us to offer life-changing support so we can be there when they call for backup.”

Heather Stanning MBE said:

“I’m honoured to support the Scottish Poppy Appeal while promoting the Female Festival of Sport at the same time.

“I see first-hand how our servicemen and women go the extra mile as part of their everyday service. That’s why I’d like to encourage the Scottish public to go the extra mile in their fundraising efforts for this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal so that Poppyscotland can continue to offer vital support for our Armed Forces community.”

Colonel Stephanie Jackman, Assistant Commander of 51 Infantry Brigade, said:

“Our girls love their sport just as much as the boys and giving them their own event enables all to shine. It’s great that we can let our girls try a whole variety of sports, and that’s just it! We want to let everyone have a go and see what they are good at, it could be we have more potential Olympians.

“It’s really super to have Heather here today, we are all extremely proud of her, such a role model and just shows with a little bit of help and a tremendous amount of hard work what you can achieve.”