RAF vet­eran: ‘We don’t de­serve this’

Daily Star - - NEWS - By ALEXAN­DER BROWN alex.brown@dai­lystar.co.uk

WAR hero poppy sell­ers are suf­fer­ing wors­en­ing lev­els of abuse.

Sell­ers have had doors slammed in their faces and been sworn at for not sell­ing white pop­pies.

Now the for­mer sol­diers claim “peo­ple are too eas­ily of­fended”, and show a lack of re­spect to our troops.

RAF vet­eran Char­lie Thom­son said: “It’s the first time I’ve ever been scoffed at and had the door slammed in my face.

“My col­league had been sworn at and told to go away and heard them mut­ter about the white poppy be­fore the door was slammed. I don’t know if it’s a gen­er­a­tional change but I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it and didn’t de­serve it.”

The 45-year-old claimed “so­ci­ety has changed”, and re­vealed the worst re­ac­tions to sell­ers in Can­ter­bury, Kent, had come from younger peo­ple.

Mr Thom­son said: “I have had peo­ple say ‘no’ or tell me they haven’t any change, which is a nice way of say­ing they don’t want one – that’s fine.

“You can’t cast as­per­sions on a whole gen­er­a­tion but the younger gen­er­a­tion are a bit dis­grun­tled and there’s a ten­dency to move to­wards anti-es­tab­lish­ment and a left-of-cen­tre view of the world.

“I had a chat with some­one who is rea­son­ably left wing and she is of the mind­set that the poppy is the glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of war. It’s not about that, it’s far from it.”

The white poppy, a sym­bol of peace, is not sold by the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion.

Mr Thom­son served with the RAF for 12 years, in­clud­ing in Afghanistan, and is now a vol­un­teer sell­ing pop­pies in Chartham, Kent.

He added: “The Poppy Ap­peal helps the wi­d­ows, the chil­dren who have lost a mother, a fa­ther – that’s what it’s for.”

®RE­SPECT: Thou­sands of flames, main pic­ture, il­lu­mi­nate the moat at the Tower of Lon­don, and, clock­wise from left, gi­ant poppy at Old Traf­ford, sol­dier on Tower Bridge, a kiss for a war hero in Ed­in­burgh, pro­jec­tion at Sal­is­bury Cathe­dral, re­mem­brance field in Woot­ton Bas­sett

®TRY­ING TO HELP: Vol­un­teer poppy sell­ers Steve Pryce, Char­lie Thom­son and Stu­art Mears

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