A Donington couple collecting cash for charity didn’t “get it” during the Spalding Argos store’s collection day because they were asked to move on – by a man with a copy of a letter of authorisation from a company no longer involved with the retail park.
Roy and Jane McNeill had set up outside the store in Holland Market on Saturday to raise funds for the Lincolnshire Alzheimer’s Society.
They thought when they were asked to move it had just been a case of “health and safety gone mad” – but investigations by the Spalding Guardian have revealed the managing agents quoted on the letter had been replaced when the retail park was sold by Corbo at the end of last year.
Argos held its collection day to coincide with the launch of their new catalogue and arrangements had been made by the charity at national level for Mr and Mrs McNeill to be among the volunteers at the store.
Mr McNeill (65) said: “We got all wrapped up so we could stand outside the store and set up by the pile of catalogues.
“While we were deciding who was going to hold the bucket a car park attendant arrived with a letter saying if you’ve been handed it you musk pack up and leave.”
Disappointed, Mr and Mrs McNeill went home after discussing the matter with the local management at Argos.
Mr McNeill said: “Jane was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in September 2011 and suffers with chronic short-term memory problems along with other issues, which have left her without the confidence to live an independent life or be left alone as she needs to be supervised 24/7.
“I am a support services volunteer with the Lincolnshire Alzheimer’s Society branch and this has been invaluable to me and means Jane can be involved, which is just great.
“The Argos collection day is a way to raise awareness and much-needed funds.
“We thought it would be a way to give something back through volunteering and help make a difference. I couldn’t believe it when we were asked to pack up and leave. It’s another case of health and safety gone mad.”
The letter, a photcopy dated January 7, 2013, was headed Osborne King, who managed Holland Market for owners Corbo until late November, when it was sold to London-based Schroder UK Property Fund. Holland Market is now managed by real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle.
Andrew Woodhead, of Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “We regret an attendant issued charity collectors at Holland Market Retail Park with a notice to move on. Jones Lang LaSalle were appointed managers of the retail park in late November and welcome with enthusiasm support for certified charities. The attendant was not acting in accordance with our rules and we are investigating the matter with the car parking agent.”