Bar faces boycott after turning away funeral soldiers

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A BAR is being boycotted after refusing to serve family and friends of a soldier before his funeral because they were wearing their military uniforms.

Matthew Thacker and colleagues of his brother Corporal Michael Thacker were refused entry to the Browns bar in Jordan Well, Coventry.

Mr Thacker was with a number of his brother’s colleagues who were to act as pall-bearers during the service at the city’s cathedral on Monday. Hundreds attended the service for Cpl Thacker, who was killed on duty in Afghanistan earlier this month.

Now nearly 50,000 have joined a Facebook group calling for a boycott of the Browns bar this Saturday, which is Armed Forces Day.

Those who have set up the page on the social networking website wrote: “The family have requested that no protest action should be taken, it is Armed Forces Day this Saturday and would be grateful to simply boycott Browns, ignore the place entirely and celebrate the job every military personnel are doing for this country day in day out! This group is not about damaging the building, violence or a witch-hunt.

“Ultimately, the family would like an apology for the disrespect shown to them on an already tough day. Please do not post comments aiming violence or damage towards Browns. This is a peaceful group.”

Corporal David Allinson, who was one of the soldiers refused entry last Saturday, told the BBC: “We were there quite early, 6 o’clock, for what was a pretty hard day anyway and for rehearsals which included Mike’s brother Matthew.

“We had a 40-minute break to calm our nerves and we tried to go for a cup of coffee. Two of the lads went up and came back and said we’ve just been refused. Matthew and two other lads just couldn’t believe it so we tried as well but we couldn’t get in.”

Yesterday the owner of the Browns Cafe and Bar Ken Brown, said: “I am genuinely sorry for the distress caused to the family of the late Cpl Michael Thacker and through the military family liaison officer I have sent an unreserved apology to his widow Catherine and the soldiers concerned.”