A BARRHEAD veteran is planning to put his poppy-making duties to one side next year as he goes for glory at the 2020 Invictus Games.

Fraser Rowand, who served as a Lance Corporal in the Scots Guards, now works as a storeman at the famous Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, in Edinburgh.

He is hoping to strike gold in the discus and powerlifting events at The Hague, in the Netherlands, next May as it hosts the Paralympic-style event for wounded veterans.

Fraser, 39, travelled to Sheffield recently for the final trials for the 2020 Invictus gathering and is now playing the waiting game to find out if he will be invited to compete at the Games proper, alongside 500 other hopefuls from 19 nations.

He told the Barrhead News: “I was motivated to compete after speaking to other veterans I know who have taken part.

“I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far and was really happy with how I did down at the final trials in Sheffield. It was also great meeting so many of the other veterans there.

“Choosing the discus and powerlifting was completely spontaneous as I’d never tried either of them before. I just said to myself ‘I want to give this a bash’ – and I’ve stuck to it ever since.”

Fraser, who was with the Scots Guards from 2001 until 2013, is part of a dedicated team that produces millions of poppies each year for the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal.

Last week saw ‘National Uplift Day’ take place, with around five million of the iconic symbols of remembrance beginning their journey across Scotland in preparation for raising funds for leading Armed Forces charity Poppyscotland.

Fraser said: “National Uplift Day is really important to everyone at the poppy factory. It is the culmination of a year’s hard work and marks the starting point of the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal.

“I know first-hand how important the work of Poppyscotland is and this year’s appeal is vitally important.”

Charlie Pelling, manager at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, added: “Fraser has trained and worked very hard to get this far and we wish him the very best of luck when it comes to finding out if he has been selected to compete at The Hague.

“We have a very special team of veterans at the factory who work tirelessly all-year-round to ensure that everyone who chooses to do so can wear a poppy with pride.”

The Scottish Poppy Appeal is the nation’s largest annual street collection.

Around five million poppies and 60,000 collecting tins are distributed across the country ahead of the appeal, which runs during October and November.

Around 10,000 volunteers get on board to do their bit for the cause.

Gordon Michie, head of fundraising at Poppyscotland, said: “It takes a remarkable effort by all of the disabled veterans to get us to this point and it means our biggest fundraiser is just around the corner.

“We are sure the public will once again show their support in buying and wearing their poppy, which will enable us to provide even more vital, life-changing support in the coming year.”

For more information about the appeal, visit www.poppyscotland.org.uk.