A couple from Peebles who have raised more than £120,000 pounds for the armed forces community have received a prestigious award.
Mike and Sheila Stark are both in their 80's - they were presented with PoppyScotland's highest volunteer accolade for their efforts over the last 17 years.
During the 1950s, Mike completed his national service before meeting his soul mate.
The pair have now been married for more than 60 years, and have been Area Organisers and volunteers for the Scottish Poppy Appeal in Peebles and Innerleithen for almost a third of that time. It's a cause that's very close to both their hearts.
Reflecting on the award Mr Stark said: “We’re speechless, we didn’t expect anything like this. It is a wonderful thing to happen. We’ve enjoyed everything we have done for PoppyScotland and this is the ultimate honour. We will miss it. We want to go on but unfortunately health reasons have stopped us.”
Their hard work enables PoppyScotland to support the thousands of veterans in need across the country.
President of PoppyScotland, Sir Alistair Irwin said: “Mike and Shiela are an inspiration to us all. They work tirelessly throughout the year to engage the community in coffee mornings, bringing together their local veterans’ community, and look after the local war memorials in fifteen parishes in Tweeddale.
"They also spearheaded a fundraising campaign to raise funds to buy Tommy silhouettes to stand guard at each of the 15 memorials."The couple are no stranger to awards - they were crowned Tweeddale Citizens of the Year in 2018 for their dedication to Armed Forces Week and the town the pipe band, as well as their fundraising.
Whilst services like this are hugely important in paying respect our country's fallen war heroes, as too, is the work which people like Mike and Sheila do, to help those still living.