'Scandalous': Staff at 48 libraries in Derbyshire were ordered to remove collection boxes selling poppies
For decades they dutifully sold poppies without objection.
But then staff at nearly 50 libraries were ordered to remove their collection tins and boxes - in the name of equality.
Officials ruled they could not be seen to support 'particular charities at the expense of others'.
The ban, which applied to all 48 libraries in Derbyshire, was yesterday described as 'scandalous'.
Staff were sent an email on October 28 warning them to remove any boxes from public areas 'immediately'.
The memo, from Ann Ainsworth, the county council's 'Operations Manager, West', said: 'I need to reinforce that the County Council does not support specific charities and does not provide opportunities for any charities to collect donations via Derbyshire Libraries.
'This ensures it maintains a neutral position and does not favour particular charities at the expense of others.
'Clearly this also excludes collection boxes for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
'Please ensure that collection boxes have not been accepted for public display during this year's appeal in any of our buildings.'
A source said the order had angered staff at one of the affected libraries, in Whitwell.
Eddie Roper, who used to run the adjoining village community centre, said: 'The staff can't understand the decision. Nobody ever complained about it.
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'Poppies raise money for the families of our war dead and our injured soldiers. By buying one we are honouring their memory.
'They should be put back in the library immediately.'
Dorothy Reynolds, whose husband Dennis served in the Second World War, said he would not understand why poppies were not being sold
Dorothy Reynolds' late husband Dennis served in the Second World War and ran the Whitwell Royal British Legion for 50 years.
The 79-year- old said: 'My husband would walk five miles to make five pence for the Poppy Appeal. Now he would want to know why on earth the library cannot sell poppies.'
During the First World War, 140,000 men served in the county regiment - the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) Regiment. Some 11,409 were killed.
A further 1,520 out of 26,940 laid down their lives in the Second World War. The county's Rolls Royce factory also played a crucial role in the war effort, producing the Merlin engines used in Spitfires and Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain.
Last night, after being contacted by the Daily Mail, Conservative-run Derbyshire County Council caved in and reversed its decision.
Council leader Andrew Lewer said: 'We are wholehearted supporters of the Armed Forces and I am very happy for libraries to sell poppies on behalf of the British Legion.
'To avoid any confusion about past policies, I will be letting all libraries know they can sell poppies this year.'
On Saturday it emerged that poppy sellers from the Royal British Legion have been banned from shaking their collection tins in case they are seen as a 'public menace'.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1224811/Libraries-ban-poppies-We-favour-charity-says-manager.html#ixzz0Vnv3c3Ku