INVERCLYDE’S annual Poppy Appeal raised almost £20,000 as locals dug deep to support veterans.

The district’s area organisers have hailed the kindness of locals after the appeal’s takings rose by more than 20 per cent last year.

The money is being used to help both former and current armed forces members and their families.

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The donation drive brought in more than £10,000 in Greenock alone, with residents in Port Glasgow digging deep to raise over £5,000.

Kilmacolm and Gourock’s appeal brought in £2,111 and £1,036 respectively.

Graeme Brooks, who is the area organiser for Greenock, told the Telegraph he was thrilled with the amount raised.

Greenock Telegraph: Inverclyde locals raise almost £20,000 for Poppy Appeal.

He said: “Area organisers across Inverclyde have been very pleased with the results financially, but it’s also been different on the ground this year.

“There seemed to be more of a buzz, people were more interested in what was happening with veterans and happy to put money in the tins.

“It was a good October and November.

“We took a lot more money in contactless payments and the only way we can take contactless payments is when we have a volunteer standing with the contactless machines.

“In Greenock we got more volunteers out in the supermarkets which meant more people were willing to tap.

“When the 2024 appeal starts in October this year this challenge for us will be to get more volunteers standing in supermarkets.”

Mr Brooks highlighted the vital work that the money would be used to support and thanked everyone who had lent their money and their efforts to the worthy cause.

Greenock Telegraph: Inverclyde locals raise almost £20,000 for Poppy Appeal.

He added: “The money supports veterans, their families and even serving personnel through a number of initiatives that are happening across Scotland.

“There are many veterans in Inverclyde who require assistance and Poppy Scotland is often their first port of call.

“There are also lots of veterans' charities throughout Scotland that are funded by Poppy Scotland, so while the delivery might not be under that name the money has come from Poppy Scotland.

“I just want to say a thanks to the volunteers and especially the public who put their hands in their pocket to raise more this time than they did the year before.”