Cleveleys shops ‘named and shamed’ in Poppy row hit back at Facebook post

Paper poppies have become a popular mark of respect
Paper poppies have become a popular mark of respect

Businesses accused of refusing to take Poppy Appeal boxes from the Royal British Legion have hit back.

The list of firms was posted to Facebook by the ‘Cleveleys Royal British Legion’ group – but has since been removed.

Businesses accused of refusing to take Poppy Appeal boxes from the Royal British Legion have hit back. The list of firms was posted to Facebook by the Cleveleys Royal British Legion group  but has since been removed. Along with the word disappointed, the post said it was a list of places so far that have refused a Poppy box and donation tub.

Businesses accused of refusing to take Poppy Appeal boxes from the Royal British Legion have hit back. The list of firms was posted to Facebook by the Cleveleys Royal British Legion group  but has since been removed. Along with the word disappointed, the post said it was a list of places so far that have refused a Poppy box and donation tub.

Along with the word ‘disappointed’, the post said it was a list of ‘places so far that have refused a Poppy box and donation tub’.

A later message said: “I can assure you all that this matter is being looked into, and the person who wrote this post can no longer write ... on the legion Facebook.

“When they overheard the ladies discussing which shops had or hadn’t accepted them, it was their opinion on what they felt and should not [have written] it on here.”

One of the companies named, Cleveleys Original Sandwich, later said in its own Facebook statement: “This is NOT true!!!!!

“Nobody has been in to ask us and if they did we would willingly take one!!

“We wear our poppies with pride every year and are very offended and upset that somebody has made this comment.”

When contacted by The Gazette yesterday, a man at the business, in Nutter Road, said: “To be honest, I just want to leave it. We do contribute to them.”

He declined to comment further, but Craig Hardiman, manager at Preslec Home Appliances, also in Nutter Road, described being named on the list as ‘pretty pathetic’.

He said a volunteer asked if he could put a donation box on his counter, but he said ‘no, sorry’, because of a lack of space.

“There’s a few things we have refused,” he said. “We can’t have everything because it would be like a charity shop.

“Where do you draw the line? She did not even ask a reason; she was gone in a second. If she had a problem, she should have raised it then.”

A spokesman for bookies Betfred, which also featured on the list, said it ‘fully supports the Royal British Legion and we have no issue if they want to collect in our Cleveleys shop’.

Also featured was Marks and Spencer, which was described as a ‘long term supporter’ of the Legion by a spokeswoman, with the chain selling a range of brooches, pins, earrings, and cufflinks that has raised over £3.6 million since 2012.

The Poppy Collection is also sold in the M&S Foodhall in Cleveleys, and the spokeswoman added: “We will always welcome volunteers who sell poppies in our stores.”

A spokesman for The Works said the Royal British Legion is ‘close to the hearts’ of its workers, who are encouraged to wear poppies and will observe the two minutes’ silence next week.

He was unable to say whether a collection box had been placed in its Victoria Road West store.

A spokeswoman for Superdrug said: “As far as we are aware we weren’t asked to be an outlet for poppies this year by the local British Legion in Cleveleys.

“Currently all our fundraising is based around supporting our ongoing partnership with Marie Curie.

“If we were contacted to support the poppy appeal during this period of remembrance we would obviously be happy to discuss this with the Royal British Legion.”

County councillor Andrea Kay said: “I don’t think anybody should name and shame people but it’s nice to support our veterans.”

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion said: “The Legion is grateful to shops, pubs and other commercial enterprises which allow poppies to be distributed and collections to be taken on their private property or inside their trading premises.

“We are thankful for every poppy worn, every shop that allows poppy collections, and every employer that permits the poppy to be displayed – but no individual should ever insist upon these things or claim as our right.”

Other businesses named included Coral, and Card Factory. They could not be reached for a comment at the time of going to print.

New Look declined to comment.

A call to the Cleveleys Royal British Legion branch was not returned.