Edinburgh Rugby Pair Join Forces To Launch Hearts And Heroes Challenge
Edinburgh Rugby club captain Simon Cross and prop Ryan Grant swapped oval balls for poppies on Wednesday (28 January) in order to launch the Poppyscotland Hearts & Heroes Challenge, on 16th May 2009.Flanker Cross, who has a military background spanning four generations, and former Royal Signaller Grant, were joined by soldiers from 61 Signal Squadron to highlight the charity event.The Challenge involves teams volunteering to take part in the 29-mile walking or running challenge across the Southern Upland Way in order to raise money for veterans and injured sportspeople.The challenge is being held in aid of sporting charities, The Sportsman’s Charity and Hearts & Balls, along with veterans charity, Poppyscotland.All funds raised will go to help injured sportsmen and women as well as veterans and their dependants living in Scotland; a cause close to Cross’s heart.Cross said: Im giving the Hearts & Heroes Challenge my full backing and I would encourage people to form teams and participate in the event because it is such a worthy cause.I don’t think people realise how much soldiers give for their country. Anything to do with injured soldiers and people coming back from war zones is something very close to my heart.Ive experienced family members being at war and it is a rough time, so I think, as a nation, we should do everything we can to help.’the link between the rugby and military is still very strong and that was shown by the recent benefit match that took place at Twickenham. While joining together to raise much-needed sponsorship money for the charities, participants can also compete for awards such as fastest team and will be able to celebrate their achievements at a party at Greenyards rugby ground, where they will enjoy a well-earned three course meal and live band. The evening will then be rounded off with a lively ceilidh – for those who still have the energy!The route of the 12-hour challenge begins at the southern end of the picturesque St Mary’s Loch, and works its way along the stunning Southern Upland Way, finishing in the beautiful town of Melrose. There are three finish points available – bronze (12 miles), silver (21 miles) and gold (29 miles), so that participants of all levels of fitness can aim for a target that suits them. Organisers are hoping that teams will sign up in the next couple of weeks to take advantage of the early bird registration offer which ends on 28 February.Jim Panton, Chief Executive of Poppyscotland, said: It is vital that we support our veterans and their families all year round – not just during Poppy Week. This kind of event gives everyone the opportunity to raise money and to have a great day as well.It is definitely the taking part that counts in a challenge like this but Im sure there will also be a bit of good-natured rivalry between the Forces teams, as usual!John Frame from The Sportsman’s Charity added: ‘this event, for The Sportsman’s Charity, is the most important and ground breaking event we have undertaken in our 26 years._ The event brings together rugby clubs, the services and companies in a common cause to support those not only who need support but deserve it from our community. Please join us.To take part in the Hearts and Heroes Challenge, teams can enter via the website: www.heartsandheroes.co.uk. The site also features further information about the event, training tips and ideas to help raise as much money as possible. Anyone who feels they could support the event in any other way should call 0131 550 1542 or 07920 801444 for further details.