Holyrood notes: Poppy Scotland a great help to veterans

I was delighted to attend this year’s Poppy Scotland launch at the Scottish Parliament. The Borders was well represented at the event and it was good to see so many people there to support this important appeal.

Poppy Scotland does fantastic work helping Berwickshire’s ex-servicemen and women after they have left the armed services. With support groups throughout the country, they can provide counselling and guidance to those who need to adjust to life outside the forces.

I’ll be wearing my poppy with pride over the coming weeks and would encourage everyone to show their support in the same way. Not only does this serve as a tribute to those who have lost their lives in conflict, but is also helps to provide much needed funds to support our servicemen and women.

The Friends of the Union Chain Bridge, which is located near Paxton, have held their inaugural meeting and I am happy to lend my support to their campaign. I’ve tabled a motion at the Scottish Parliament and also written to Scottish Borders Council to gather support for the restoration of the Union Chain Bridge. For those of you who haven’t visited the bridge, it is the earliest iron chain suspension bridge still in use in Europe and a fantastic Borders site, which deserves being restored to its full glory. It is also an excellent symbol of the Union, linking Scotland and England across the Tweed and marked (in Latin) with the words “United Strength is Stronger”. Given the resounding support Berwickshire gave to remaining part of the United Kingdom in September, I think it a fitting tribute to properly restore the crossing.

The campaign aims to secure funding in time for full restoration before 2020, which marks the 200th anniversary of the Bridge. I would encourage residents to visit the landmark, but also to take a look at the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge website and help out if you can. The Bridge is not only an important transport link, it is also a valuable tourist attraction for Berwickshire and is one we should all be looking after.

In Parliament recently, I visited a stall set for the Citizens Advice Bureau to wish the organisation a happy 75th birthday and lend my support to the good work they do in the Scottish Borders.

Citizens Advice Scotland has offices across the Borders and outreach services in Duns, Coldstream, Eyemouth, Chirnside and Cockburnspath.

I was amazed to learn that last year the CAB network helped with over 16,000 issues in my constituency, which highlights their impact.