Bim Afolami, the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has stepped in to help the poppy sellers at Harpenden railway station.

Mr Afolami's intervention came after he learned that the volunteers for the Royal British Legion had been told that they were not allowed to use their contactless card machines to raise money at the station.

Instead, they were having to rely solely on cash donations, leaving many people unable to purchase a poppy.

After hearing about the situation from residents, Mr Afolami contacted Thameslink and asked them to change their policy on the use of card machines.


In response, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) said that they had introduced the policy of only allowing cash collections some years ago, when card collections were relatively new and there had been complaints from some passengers that they had been charged more than they had expected when giving to a charity.

The railway company has now confirmed that they have changed their policy, allowing poppy sellers to use contactless card machines at their stations.

A spokesperson for GTR said: "We always value feedback and are glad we have been able to work in partnership with Bim to make this positive change, recognising that fewer people now carry cash and prefer the convenience of paying by card.

"We really want to help the charities that work in our communities and every year make arrangements for the Royal British Legion to collect on our station concourses. We've also arranged for free travel to and from services of remembrance for serving military personnel and veterans this Sunday."

Mr Afolami said: “I am delighted that Thameslink have agreed to allow poppy sellers to use contactless card machines at their stations.

"The Royal British Legion do some fantastic work looking after veterans and their families and it is absolutely right that we should make it as easy as possible for them to raise money.

"I know that lots of local commuters will show their support for those who have served to protect our nation and its freedoms as we approach Remembrance Sunday.”

Mr Afolami has also placed a Remembrance Cross in Parliament's Constituency Garden of Remembrance on behalf of his constituents. In a social media post, he wrote: "We will never forget those who have given their lives in service of our nation and its freedoms."