Hatfield car dealership 'ludicrous' to reject Poppy box over branding concerns
PUBLISHED: 15:54 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:58 24 October 2018
A car firm has apologised after its Hatfield dealership refused to display a Poppy box because it "doesn't fit with their branding".
Sam Frake, who organises the Hatfield Poppy Appeal and works at Hatfield Town Council, went around businesses today to see if they would be happy to display a Poppy box and tin.
The ex-Royal Air Force veteran claims that when she asked staff at the Lexus dealership in Great North Road if they would be happy to take one, they declined.
The Hatfield Poppy Appeal account tweeted: “Staggered that when delivering poppy boxes to car dealerships in Hatfield, Lexus refused as it doesn’t fit in with their branding!!”
Lexus responded to the tweet: “We’re very sorry to hear this.
“Thank you for raising your concerns, we will look into it.”
Hatfield veteran Elaine Forman, who previously organised the Hatfield Poppy Appeal before handing it to Sam, described their response as “ludicrous”.
She told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I always defend the rights of others to choose whether or not to wear a Poppy but to say that it doesn’t fit in with their branding is ludicrous.”
Elaine, who runs a monthly breakfast meeting for veterans, added: “Why don’t they come down to breakfast and explain to our veterans their reasoning behind their decision.
“Perhaps they can explain the concept to our 91-year-old veteran Fred.
“I defend their right not to have a Poppy box, that’s fine but be honest as to their reasoning.”
A spokesman for Lexus said: “We’re sorry for this misunderstanding.
“Lexus and Toyota in the UK fully support the Poppy Appeal, and we also actively support Mission Motorsport, a Service charity which uses motorsport to help physically and psychologically wounded servicemen and women.
“We always have a Poppy tray in reception at our UK HQ, where we also observe the minute’s silence.
“In this case staff at our dealership have misinterpreted the position on charity collection tins.
“We have around 230 UK dealers across both our brands who are regularly asked to place charity tins and boxes on site, often many times each week.
“Sadly they could not say yes to all of them so, to ensure fairness, we advise them to work with chosen charities throughout the year rather than having multiple collection items in reception areas.
“We can and do make exceptions though, and the Poppy Appeal is one of those.
“We’d be happy to have the Hatfield appeal’s box in the showroom.”