I'm a poppy seller – Tesco shopper yelled at me for selling the badges… here's how I stayed dignified | The Sun

A POPPY seller has revealed how she stayed dignified when a Tesco shopper yelled at her for selling the badges.

Former soldier Roberta McNally, 63, was blasted by the customer for running a poppy stall at the Tesco branch in Lurgan, Northern Ireland.

The shopper said "This is not acceptable!" and accused Roberta of selling badges for murderers.

Roberta, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen's final birthday honours list, kept her cool throughout the shopper's rant.

She told the Mail: "When that woman was accusing members of the police and the army of being murderers I knew I had to keep my cool for the sake of the veterans.

"We are raising money to help men and women who have been injured in combat, defending this country.

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"That is what is important – not what the woman says.

Roberta joined the Royal Irish Regiment at the age of 18 and rose to the rank of lance corporal.

She said that she lost four comrades during her time in the army – and was the last person to speak to Ulster Defence Regiment soldier John Lyness before he was shot dead by the IRA in 1993.

Proud veteran Roberta said: "I decided to stay quiet and keep my dignity and reserve the dignity of the thousands of men and women who serve their country."

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The fuming Tesco shopper claimed that Roberta was also selling badges for the Royal Ulster Constabulary, or RUC.

An inquiry found that the RUC colluded with Loyalist forces responsible for shootings and bombings during the Troubles.

RUC officers were frequently IRA targets, and the force was later replaced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The shopper said: "The British Army and the RUC murdered a lot of innocent people, and you're selling for them?

"No, I'm not accepting this! I don't accept this.

"As a member of the Catholic community in this town would I be able to sell IRA badges?

"This is not only for poppies for the last World War – this is for murderers of innocent people."

The customer screamed "Security!" while standing in front of the poppy seller – with other shoppers telling her to "get a life".

She added: "Murderers! Murderers! RUC murderers! That's what they are."

The shopper then demanded to know whether the pensioner had permission from the Royal British Legion to sell RUC badges.

When a Tesco worker asked her to leave, she said: "This is annoying me as a customer! This is a disgrace.

"I will set up a protest outside this store! It shouldn't be in store. There will be a protest."

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The shopper went on to demand a list of items sold by Tesco originating from Israel.

But Roberta said she has been "inundated" with phone calls, chocolates and flowers from well-wishes – both Protestant and Catholic.

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