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Marie Curie charity collector moved on from outside Marks & Spencer store
AN 81-year-old man who has worked as a charity fundraiser since his wife died from cancer was ordered to move away from a York shop, he said.
Joseph French, of Derwent Road, said he was collecting for Marie Curie beside the front door of Marks & Spencer in Parliament Street on Saturday when a store manager asked him to move away as it was collecting for a different charity that day.
When he refused to move, the grandfather-of-two, who started collecting for the charity after his wife May passed away ten years ago, said the manager threatened to call the police.
A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said they had asked Mr French to move away from the door as he was causing an obstruction.
Mr French, who had a licence to sell Marie Curie daffodils and was wearing a yellow apron and hat from the charity, said: “I couldn’t believe my ears when he said ‘you will have to move on’.
“I told the man that I’d been collecting on that spot on this particular day for the last seven or eight years. He virtually called me a liar then stated that as the store manager he was telling me that I was trespassing and if I did not move on he would call the police and have me arrested.
“I took one pace forward onto the actual pavement and told him that he could call the police but, as I was licensed, I thought they might take him away first.
“For some time he stood watching me. I stood at my post until I only had one daffodil left, then I returned to our base and handed over to the next person after explaining to her what had happened.”
Mr French, a retired civil servant, said Marie Curie nurses had helped care for his wife in the final months of her life and he thanked passers-by for donating £197 during the 90 minutes he collected outside Marks & Spencer.
A spokesman for Marks & Spencer said: “Marks & Spencer York regularly welcomes and supports charity collection in and outside out stores. However, we want to ensure customers and collectors can access and leave the store in an easy and safe manner. It was certainly not our intention to cause offence and we would welcome Mr French to collect outside our store in the future.”