September 18 2014 Latest news:
Friday, July 4, 2014
A High Court judge has spoken of his sadness that more than 1,800 good causes will not get all the money pledged to them after a Norfolk-based donation website was shut down by the charity watchdog amid concerns about its management.
Mr Justice Sir Launcelot Henderson spoke during a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday, which heard that the Dove Trust – which was based at Bawdeswell near Dereham – owes £1.68million to more than 1,810 charities and good causes.
Its trustees included the former Norwich City goalkeeper and manager Bryan Gunn.
The London-based hearing was held to decide how £709,000 will be distributed between the charities.
Sir Launcelot, who has retired to consider his verdict, said: “It is very sad.
“When one has got a limited pot, there are more claims than there is enough money.”
Tim Akkouh, who was representing the Charity Commission, told the court that the users of the website, www.charitygiving.com, were mainly members of the public collecting donations from friends and family for activities such as riding from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise funds for a village school in India.
He also cited a “poignant” case, where donations were made through the website in lieu of sending flowers to the funeral of a young woman killed in a car crash.
The Charity Commission appointed an interim manager last year after concerns were raised over the Dove Trust’s financial management, and trustees Mr Gunn and Donna Naghshineh were excluded from its control.
The inquiry into the Dove Trust is still continuing, but the commission has concluded that there was “misconduct and mismanagement at the charity”.
The Bryan Gunn Appeal was also suspended because it is a charitable activity of the Dove Trust, sharing the same charity number.
Mr Gunn was at the hearing, but despite writing to the Charity Commission saying he would like to speak, chose not to.
Keith Colman, the founder of the charity, was represented by Francesca Quint, who said: “Mr Colman is very keen to help.
“He is devastated by what has happened to his charity and is really anxious that the maximum amount of money goes to the charity and good causes chosen by the donors.”
Mr Gunn’s appeal, set up in 1993 in memory of his two-year-old daughter Francesca, who died from leukaemia, has raised more than £1m.