Northern Ireland

Lisburn woman forces Poundland U-turn over Remembrance Day poppy

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Media captionPoundland worker Lyndsay Pattison has returned to work after she won the right to wear a poppy

A Northern Ireland woman who forced a major UK store into a U-turn on wearing the poppy has said it should never have been an issue.

Lindsay told Radio Ulster's Nolan Show that her employer, Poundland, was wrong to include the Remembrance Day poppy in its ban on staff wearing badges.

She walked out of the Bow Street Mall shop, Lisburn, last week after she was asked to remove her poppy.

Poundland has apologised and said it has changed its policy.

But Lindsay, who did not give her second name, said: "I understand the uniform policy. But the poppy is sacred.

"It shouldn't come into this. It shouldn't be an issue with the poppy.

"I have family that have fought in the wars. I have friends that are out fighting in Afghanistan at the minute. I feel that wearing it is supporting them."

Lindsay said she had been told to remove the poppy on Friday, but refused.

"I was backed into a corner and I had no choice but to leave the premises. I chose my poppy and I chose my beliefs. The people of Northern Ireland have done nothing but back me... It has been unbelievable the support I have had," she said.

"I think it is the least I can do for the men and women who died for our country in all the wars and are still fighting today.

"It is not a political thing, it is for every race, colour, creed and religion that I am wearing it."

Apology

At the weekend, Poundland said the after listening to customer and staff feedback it had reviewed its UK policy. The company apologised for any unintended offence caused.

Image caption The poppy is symbolic of those who fought and died in wars

"We have for some years operated a clear and simple dress code that store colleagues are requested to observe," said Jim McCarthy, Poundland's chief executive.

"The policy was designed to prevent issues arising that for whatever reason could upset individuals or communities and to focus our energy on raising money for colleague-nominated charities.

"On 28 October, a situation in Northern Ireland was brought to the company's attention where a store colleague was politely asked to remove a poppy by our store manager in order to comply with company policy.

"The store colleague decided to walk out and stated that she would return on Monday next wearing her poppy."

Mr McCarthy said the company had decided in the case of the poppy appeal to allow store colleagues to use their own discretion in wearing poppies.

"This change in policy is consistent with recent reviews of policy made by other leading High Street retailers," he added.

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