A MEMBER of the Borough Of Bury Veterans Association (BOBVA) has hit back at "false news" circulating online regarding poppy collections.

Posts have been doing their rounds on Facebook alleging that the Royal British Legion won't be selling poppies to avoid upsetting ethnic minorities.

However, the story - which is false - risks inflaming current tensions even further, according to BOBVA committee member, Owen Dykes.

With global issues including the Black Lives Matter protests and the ongoing pandemic, Owen believes it is time that people should stop disseminating lies and come together for the benefit of everyone.

He said: "People will be believing these things and I am trying to put their minds at rest - it is false news and has nothing to do with the Royal British Legion (RBL).

"If you look at the British forces now, we recruit from across the board - all faiths, religions and cultures.

During his 20 plus years of service, Owen, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cyprus amongst others, has worked with many different people, including Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, Catholics and Protestants.

In one of the posts on Facebook, which has been posted in previous years, it alleges "The Royal British Legion are not selling poppies in certain areas on Nov 11 this year. This is because some minorities say that it will upset them."

However, speaking to independent fact checking charity Full Fact, the RBL said: "“We have always offered the Poppy in every community and area of the United Kingdom and we will continue to do so.”

Owen added: "I have seen people from all faiths and religions in Bury dropping pounds or notes in our collection tins.

"It has been a tough year and posts like this spread a lot of hatred and there is no need to make things this year even more difficult."

BOBVA are currently deciding how best to commemorate November 11 this year, due to the pandemic.

A low-key event is likely to be held, where people can safely and respectfully remember the fallen.