Somerset

Morrisons apology after elderly poppy seller left in cold in Taunton

Morrisons supermarket, Taunton Image copyright Google
Image caption The Royal British Legion said its sellers had been offered a choice but wanted to collect outside as "there was a higher footfall"

A supermarket chain has apologised for suggesting an 89-year-old poppy seller should "wear a warmer coat" rather than move into its Somerset store's foyer.

The veteran was spotted outside Morrisons in Taunton by shopper Ronnie Roach, who challenged the manager and was told there was "no room" inside.

Morrisons said it had not been aware of the elderly volunteer but had it known he would have been invited in.

The Royal British Legion confirmed its sellers had wanted to collect outside.

Ms Roach, from Taunton, said she was "absolutely furious" when she spotted the "freezing" 89-year-old collecting outside in the cold.

"Every year, the poppies are sold just inside the door," she said.

'Exceptionally inappropriate'

"I asked why he'd set up outside and he replied 'the manager told me to move outside'."

When she confronted the manager, she said she was told there was "no room for the poppy stand" due to a store promotion at the entrance.

A spokesman for Morrisons said it was "very sorry" about the misunderstanding but said the Legion had "wanted to collect outside".

"At lunchtime their volunteer changed to an 89-year-old gentleman," the spokesman said.

"Our manager did not know this and therefore his comment re 'wrap up warm' is then exceptionally inappropriate and he is very saddened by this.

"We spoke to the British Legion and the store have removed a number of static items in the foyer to enable the British Legion to be inside the store."

The Legion confirmed its collectors had been offered a choice, on the first day of collecting, and decided on an "outside position as there was a higher footfall".

"We are grateful to Morrisons, as we are to all commercial outlets, who permit Poppy Appeal collections on their sites throughout the UK," a spokesperson said.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites