I would meet man who abused me says Legion poppy seller

Che McNally who was verbally abused as he sold poppies in the Town Centre at the weekend. INPT46-210b.
Che McNally who was verbally abused as he sold poppies in the Town Centre at the weekend. INPT46-210b.

A Portadown man who was verbally abused while he was selling poppies in the town centre has offered to meet those responsible.

Che McNally wrote an open letter to his abusers after the incident last Friday.

Mr McNally was collecting for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal at the top of William Street when he was subjected to abuse from a passing car.

A man in the car shouted ‘f*** your poppy’ and one of the passengers was wearing a Glasgow Celtic shirt.

On Saturday, Mr McNally wrote an open letter to the abusers which was published on the Portadown Times website on Saturday.

The article attracted an enormous reaction.

It was read by more than 11,000 people over the course of the two days and Mr McNally’s stance received messages of support on Facebook from across the world.

Mr McNally, who is not a social media user himself, admitted he had been touched by the supportive messages.

However, he remains concerned about what he calls the level of “intolerance” towards the poppy and its meaning.

“In my opinion it has struck a chord with people who have witnessed such antagonism towards the Poppy Appeal as a whole,” he said.

“I’ve spoken to people at the Royal British Legion and people just want the respect afforded to them that they give to others.

“The overriding thing that came out is the level of intolerance out there, and that can lead to other things.

“Are we going to see someone selling poppies attacked in future?”

Mr McNally revealed that another poppy seller was spat at when he was collecting in Rushmere.

“It’s a real challenge for the Royal British Legion going forward. This intolerance has to be stamped out.

“I would want to meet the people who abused me and explain what the poppy is about. But would they want to listen to me? I don’t think so.”

Ulster Unionist Councillor Doug Beattie said, “I was disappointed to hear abuse was directed at a member of the Royal British Legion who was collecting for the annual Poppy Appeal in Portadown on Friday.

“While I believe it is an individual’s choice to wear the poppy or support the appeal I also believe those who give of their time in order to support the appeal should be left in peace to do so.

“I hope those who abused Ché McNally have taken the time to read his eloquent response to that abuse and now understand the full meaning and inclusiveness of the poppy. Maybe they can reflect on their actions and in the future show maturity and respect for all in our society.”