The Royal British Legion has rejected a British National Party member’s charity fund-raiser. But the decision has caused a row with one of the charity’s campaigners in Huddersfield.
Single mum Rachel Firth planned to spend 24 hours inside a cardboard box to highlight the plight of ex-service personnel who are forced to sleep rough. The Skelmanthorpe mum-of-two, 36, planned to raise money for the Royal British Legion, the charity for ex-servicemen and women. But she also intended to give half the cash to the far-right British National Party, of which she is a member.
She claimed the government failed to do enough for ex-servicemen and women.
“It’s a crying shame ex-servicemen and women are having to sleep rough because they don’t get enough support from the Government. I think the Royal British Legion do an excellent job. They provide welfare services, and are custodians of remembrance, and I believe a stay in a cardboard box for 24 hours is nothing compared to the dedication of the service men and women and the commitment of the Royal British Legion.”
But the British Legion’s central office says the charity does not want her money. A spokeswoman said: “The Royal British Legion has remained scrupulously above the party political fray for its entire existence and does not accept donations from either Government or any political party. This allows us to maintain the independence necessary to campaign effectively on behalf of the entire armed forces family, past and present, and their families. As a result, we do not participate in joint fundraisers with political parties. We have not authorised this particular fundraising event, nor will we be accepting funds raised as a result.”
The statement has put the British Legion on a collision course with one of its campaigners in Huddersfield. BNP member Robert Walker, who organises the Poppy Appeal for the charity’s Golcar branch, had already said he would accept Rachel’s donation.
Mr Walker said: “I will be talking to senior people about it. I had already discussed this with the Golcar branch and they were happy with it and we had told Rachel we would be happy to accept her money. She is very upset.”
He said he would still be accepting the money raised from the event.
Rachel said she was disappointed by the response.
“It’s political correctness gone mad,” she said.
Huddersfield Daily Examiner