Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

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Published: February 26, 2007
Asda jumps in to help Burnham charity after Tesco axes collection box

Supermarket giant Tesco has disappointed fundraisers at Burnham-On-Sea's hovercraft group by asking them to remove a vital charity collection box from its store in the town.

The distinctive collection box, which is a miniature replica of Burnham's famous low lighthouse, has been in the store's entrance foyer for over four years and earns BARB, the life-saving charity behind the town's two rescue hovercrafts, up to £500 a year.

But during the last few weeks a Tesco staff member contacted the charity to ask that it be removed and taken away, without giving a full explanation.

Alan Miller, Chairman of BARB, said: "We are deeply disappointed by the store's actions and the way they have handled this. We have received several calls from members of the public asking where the collection box has gone and why."

But Tesco spokeswoman Linda Marsh said: "Tesco's 'clear foyer' policy has actually been in place for some years. Nothing has changed. We only allow collection boxes in our foyers for Tesco's 'charity of the year', which is currently the British Red Cross. Charity collections are also allowed outside the store on an occasional basis with prior agreement."

"In this case, it would seem the Burnham store only recently realised that this particular box is not in line with the policy and, therefore, asked that it be removed. Unfortunately, if we allowed one charity to place a box in our foyer, we would need to allow many more and we wouldn't be able to choose between them."

The story took a further twist this week with the news that Asda, which is currently building a new store in nearby Highbridge, has jumped at the chance to have the collection box in its foyer.

A spokesman said: "We would be absolutely thrilled and delighted to have one of BARB's collection boxes in the foyer of our new store when it opens. If BARB finds a new home for the box before we open, we would still love to have one if they would like to make another."

BARB's Mr Miller said: "This is wonderful news - we are delighted that there's a happy ending to this story."

Our photo (top) shows BARB members Dave Bailey and Clive Weal alongside the charity's lighthouse collection box


BARB Web site


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