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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 09:59 GMT
War veteran poppy seller attacked
A war veteran who was attacked with a claw hammer as he sold Remembrance Day poppies has said he will keep on collecting.

Eric Paternoster, 79, needed seven stitches for a head wound and suffered gashes to his arm after an apparently unprovoked attack at a Safeway store in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

The former 2nd Battalion Manchester Regiment soldier, who served in India during the World War II, was struck three times during the incident on Monday at about 1150 GMT.

Mr Paternoster, who lives in Aylesbury, said on Wednesday he was determined not to let the incident prevent him from helping with future collections and would be on parade with the Royal British Legion on Sunday.

He is getting on a bit now but he is quite resilient - he was on the beaches at Normandy, so this will not put him off
Joe Allen, Royal British Legion

He said: "I'm a bit shaken up, but these thugs won't beat me. I'll be back next year."

His son David Paternoster said the family were all shocked by what had happened but were proud of their father.

Aylesbury Royal British Legion branch secretary Joe Allen added that Mr Paternoster would miss their AGM on Thursday, but had vowed to be at the parade on Remembrance Sunday.

"He's a tough one," he said. "He is getting on a bit now but he is quite resilient - he was on the beaches at Normandy, so this will not put him off.

"But people are totally disgusted by it, I could not believe it."

Thames Valley Police said a 29-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm and released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Legion short of poppy sellers
26 Oct 03  |  Wales

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