A PEEBLES couple have been honoured after helping raise more than £100,000 for a forces charity.

Mike and Sheila Stark have been collecting for Poppyscotland over the past 15 years.

And this week it was revealed that they have smashed through the incredible £100,000 mark.

Mike became the Poppyscotland Area Organiser for Peeblesshire back in 2002.

Mike admits he knew the milestone was in sight.

He said: “I knew we were close to breaking the £100,000 this year and I was confident that we’d smash through the barrier.

“As the Poppy Appeal began to wind down this year, I started to get totals in - Sainsbury’s and Tesco, between them, raised around £3,000.

“The schools always like to know how much they raised and their total was £961.

“Costa raised over £100, and The Garden of Remembrance was well over £100 as well, which is a great effort, especially as it was late to go up this year.

“The total from the Cadets was £300. So, even without all of the monies added up, I knew that we were well over £100,000.”

It is mission accomplished for Mike, after setting his goal to reach £100,000 before 2018 - a special year which marks a century since the signing of the Armistice that led to the end of the First World War.

His own grandfather was killed in France in September 1915 and both Mike and Sheila have been over to visit his grave.

The 82-year-old, who is originally from Somerset but has lived in and around the Peebles area for 40 years, added: “We’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve - breaking the £100,000 barrier by 2018. Running the Poppy Appeal in Peebles is a very satisfying role.

“When the local Legion branch needed help, I was happy to get on board and, for me, it’s all about where the money goes. It’s special to know that we are raising money to help support our veterans and their families.”

Sheila, 80, also has special links to the Poppy Appeal.

She explained: “The poppies have always been so close to me because my grandmother lost a son during the War.

“He died on the last day of the First World War. It was malaria that took him. This is how I came to be a part of the Poppy Appeal along with Mike.”

Sheila, who is originally from Devon, added: “I do this for what it represents. We’ve been lucky enough to go down to the Cenotaph in London a few times and when you walk past, you just think, Wow! That is motivation in itself.”

As well as her collecting duties, for the past five years Sheila has organised an annual coffee morning to raise money for the 15 wreaths which are then laid in each of the local parishes.

Gordon Michie from Poppyscotland, said: “It is incredible that Mike and Sheila have reached this fantastic landmark. We cannot thank them enough for their wonderful fundraising efforts over the past 15-plus years. Without the Starks and our volunteers, it wouldn’t be possible to provide our year-round help for Scotland’s Armed Forces community.”