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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jan 2014 at 10:09am
Soldiers’ charity hit by cash inquiry

Mark Hookham and Simon Trump Published: 22 December 2013

A CHARITY aimed at helping poor and injured soldiers that boasted Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, among its patrons has been torn apart by allegations of financial mismanagement.

This weekend Lucy Aldridge, one of eight mothers who helped to form Afghan Heroes after each had lost a son in Afghanistan, spoke publicly of her concerns about the influence of the family of Denise Harris, another of the bereaved mothers, on the charity.

“It [Afghan Heroes] seemed to be a vehicle for Denise and I wasn’t happy at so many of her family members being involved,” said Aldridge, whose son William, 18, was killed in Helmand province on July 10, 2009.

“I believe I have a moral duty not to upset the other bereaved mothers who are still involved, but I also have a duty to the public, which has supported the charity so admirably, to let them know I had concerns at the outset about the way things were being managed.”

The charity is under investigation by the Charity Commission and last week Fox resigned as its patron. An inquiry by The Sunday Times has uncovered payments of almost £300,000 to companies linked to its trustees.

The creation of Afghan Heroes was announced by Harris in 2009, two months after her son Lee, 26, and the seven other soldiers who were all killed during a 24-hour period in Afghanistan were repatriated. Harris’s husband Andrew and brother Gary Wilson were fellow founding trustees and her daughter Kelly has since worked part-time for the charity.

According to its latest accounts Afghan Heroes received income of £548,400 in 2012 but spent just £15,153 (2.8%) on helping soldiers and their families.

Between 2011 and 2012, £120,941 was paid to ADA Consultancy for “consultancy and administration services”. Denise and Andrew Harris are directors and joint owners of the firm.

A further sum of £101,188 was paid to Aquarius Systems, a fire alarms company, between 2009 and April 2011, when the couple were both directors. The payments, for “administration and general office running costs”, ceased in May 2011 when the business was sold to Dean Scott, Denise Harris’s son.

Over a period of three years Afghan Heroes also made payments of more than £20,000 to Accounting Solutions, an accountancy firm run by Shaun Miles, another founding trustee. Event Merchandising Supplies, which is run by Paul Ferguson, another trustee, received £51,000. Both Miles and Ferguson, who resigned as trustees last week, declined to comment.

The commission’s inquiry is expected to scrutinise the management of the Retreat, a pub and restaurant run by the charity in Ashcott, Somerset. Profits from the Retreat, which opened in November 2012 after a £100,000 refurbishment, are intended to pay for the accommodation of five veterans in rooms above the pub.

Earlier this month Denise Harris told Soldier, the official British Army magazine, of plans to open a network of 12 such places. Of the Retreat she said: “After the staff and running costs have been paid, every penny goes to the guys.”

A second premises taken over by Afghan Heroes this year has failed. The charity returned the Smuggled Retreat pub, near Minehead in Somerset, to its landlord two weeks ago after discovering that the conditions of the lease prevented it from offering accommodation.

Denise Harris, 50, yesterday admitted that mistakes had been made, albeit innocently. “I am absolutely gutted this has happened because all I ever wanted to do was do good and help people in memory of my son. I know we have slipped up on the paperwork side of it,” she said.

She added that Afghan Heroes had been wrongly advised that it could not classify the refurbishment costs for the Retreat as charitable activity and that Aquarius Systems had incurred costs while the charity was based at its premises.

She said the charity’s trustees had agreed for her and her husband to be paid via ADA Consultancy and denied that her family had wielded undue influence.

Last year, with the backing of Fox, Afghan Heroes launched the Give Us Time campaign to offer free holiday accommodation for service families. Among those who joined up was the former prime minister Sir John Major who offered his six-bedroom country house in Weybourne, Norfolk, for the charity’s use.

Give Us Time, which is not part of the Charity Commission inquiry, became a separate charity and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing. “Anything going on with Afghan Heroes is completely nothing to do with us,” a spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for Major said he was unaware of the investigation into Afghan Heroes and the offer of his property to Give Us Time remains.

Explaining his decision to stand down as a patron of Afghan Heroes, Fox said: “I was not made aware by either the management or the trustees of the charity that any investigation was due to take place.

“With this breakdown in trust it is impossible for me to continue to act as patron and it is with sadness that I can no longer do so.”
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Afghan Heroes charity to close after it raked in £555,000 in donations but spent just £15,000 helping people

  • Denise Harris founded charity after son Lee died in war-torn nation in 2009
  • Charity watchdogs launched probe in December
  • Majority of money went on fundraising, events and wages for staff

Published: 07:08, 8 April 2014 | Updated: 14:00, 8 April 2014      


A soldier’s charity is to close down after it raked in £555,000 in donations - but spent just £15,000 on actually helping people.

Afghan Heroes was founded by Denise Harris in memory of her son Lee who was killed by an improvised explosive device in Nad-e-Al while serving in Afghanistan in July 2009.

The Charity Commission froze the organisation’s bank accounts and launched an inquiry in December into the charity which helps hard-up and injured former soldiers.

But an interim manager has now declared the charity 'no longer a viable concern' and would be wound up while the investigation continues.

Afghan Heroes was founded by Denise Harris in memory of her son Lee, who was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. The charity is now closing and is being investigated by a charity watchdog

In a letter to former volunteers, interim manager Brian Johnson of HW Fisher & Company, said: “As a result I am, I am in the process of winding down the operations of the charity and no further action should take place in terms of events or other fundraising or support activities.”

During 2012, Afghan Heroes recieved £548,440, and while it spent £516,288, just £15,153 went on helping soldiers and their families.

Some £241,014 was spent on encouraging people to donate money, £233,910 on fundraising events, and a staggering £190,479 on wages for eight full-time and 16 part-time staff.

 Fundraiser Tony Hall, volunteered for the charity four days a week and raised around £20,000 for the organisation over three years after he met founder Denise Harris.

Mr Hall, who left when he found out the charity was under investigation, said: 'I feel sorry for them in truth.

'She lost her son and that is sad. They didn’t expect this. They expected to get through it I think.

'I don’t hate them for that has happened. It is just that I wonder where the money has gone sometimes.

'It is all very well saying it is being wound up and it is not ‘viable’ but where has all the fund raising that we worked so hard for gone?'

Police say there has been a huge increase in the number of fake charities fraudulently claiming to cater to injured servicemen> File picture

The commission met with the trustees last October to discuss misgivings but still had concerns about financial mismanagement so started an inquiry.

In a statement at the time, the watchdog said it is looking at the charity’s management and administration including 'the significant risk to, and potential loss of, the charity’s funds or other property'.

It is also investigating 'unmanaged conflicts of interest and unauthorised trustee benefits' and whether trustees have made any failings.

A report will be published following the conclusion of the inquiry.

In a statement in December, Denise Harris, 50, said the Somerset-based charity had tried to act properly and the last year had been busy.

'I feel sorry for them in truth.

'She lost her son and that is sad.

I don’t hate them for that has happened. It is just that I wonder where the money has gone sometimes'

- Fundraiser Tony Hall

She said: 'The charity was set up in 2009 when my son died while serving in Afghanistan and is run by a very small team, with most activities undertaken by myself and my husband.

'In the past year we have opened our first retreat for service personnel in Somerset, which has five bedrooms that are currently fully occupied.

'Full financial disclosure and access to our records has been made to the Charity Commission, which will report in due course.

'We have tried to act properly and within the regulations at all times.

'The inquiry will reveal whether anyone within the organisation has made any mistakes or mismanaged anything during an incredibly busy period for us.

'Our aim is for funds donated to benefit our troops.

'We are working with our advisers and the Charity Commission to resolve this issue and ensure that the best interests of recovering personnel are uppermost.'

Since it launched in 2009, Afghan Heroes has provided money to build memorials, organised holidays for families of wounded soldiers, and set up two retreats in Ashcott and Minehead, in Somerset.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said she could not comment on an ongoing inquiry.

While there is no suggestion that Afghan Heroes has been involved in any wrongdoing, police say there has been a huge increase in the number of fake charities fraudulently claiming to cater to injured servicemen.

Commander Stephen Head, lead on charity fraud for the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the Daily Star: 'In terms of cases relating to armed forces and veterans charities, of those that we see, the largest number by a long way relate to people who have got names similar to Help For Heroes.'

The number of cases has leapt from two in 2012 to 29 last year.

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Edited by mfsg - 08 Apr 2014 at 4:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mfsg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jul 2014 at 8:58am

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Christopher Copeland, 51, is facing jail for pocketing £300,000 in donations meant for the forces charity Help for Heroes

A conman has admitted pocketing £300,000 of donations meant for the Help for Heroes charity.

Christopher Copeland, 51, recruited teams of workers to set up donation stations at supermarkets around the country over an 18-month period.

The teams would use Copeland’s fleet of ex-military vehicles, in Help for Heroes livery, and encourage shoppers to put money into charity buckets.

They then handed the cash over to 'greedy' Copeland, of mid Devon, who transferred it into his personal bank accounts.

Exeter Crown Court heard the scam took place between February 1, 2010, and September 17, 2011, when Copeland was arrested.

He admitted one charge of fraud by false representation and a charge of concealing criminal property, relating to the stolen donations.

Judge Philip Wassall adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports but warned Copeland he faced a 'lengthy' custodial sentence.

'It is difficult to imagine a fraud with greater aggravating features,' the judge said. 'He will know that he faces a lengthy prison sentence.

'He had better sort his affairs in order in the meantime.'

The fraud charge states that Copeland took the donations knowing that he did not intend to pass them on to Help for Heroes, contrary to Section 1 of the Fraud Act.

Prosecuting, David Sapiecha, said Copeland will now face proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Representing Copeland, Rosaleen Collins said her client and his family had been subjected to attacks at their home since his arrest.

'When this matter was publicised before there were some serious threats to Mr Copeland and his family to such an extent that police had to fit an alarm in his property,' she said.

Speaking outside court, a tearful Copeland apologised for his behaviour and said he would use his 'life’s work' to pay the money back.

'I tried to do something that was really good and I messed up,' he said. 'I am very sorry. I would really, really like to make amends.

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'I am really sorry and I will do anything I can.'

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Robison, also speaking after the hearing, said the deception was uncovered when one of Copeland’s workers became suspicious.

Mr Robison said Copeland had a number of vehicles, including a large personnel carrier and an ex-military Land Rover, in Help for Heroes livery.

Officers have uncovered at least 15 occasions where Copeland’s collecting team operated at supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s, around the country.

The workers, who were paid expenses, would stay in Copeland’s vehicles or a nearby hotel and spend between three and four days a week collecting donations.

'We believed his motive was greed,' Mr Robison said. 'It is a rare occurrence and one that we have taken seriously along with Help for Heroes and the Crown Prosecution Service to arrive at a successful outcome.

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'It was a charity collector that raised the issues with us in the first place.'

Jo Brookes, Help for Heroes’ Income Protection Officer, said: 'We’re appalled that Chris Copeland exploited the goodwill of so many people towards our wounded men and women in such a calculated, devious way.

'The money he stole never reached us, or the thousands of Heroes we support, because he used organised, criminal tactics to intercept it.

'Help for Heroes is grateful to our local fundraiser who first spotted what Copeland was doing, and to the police and the courts who have made sure he didn’t get away with it.'

H4H for founded by Bryn and Emma Parry in 2007 to help Armed Forces personnel wounded in battle.

The charity celebrated breaking the £100 million mark in 2011 thanks to the public’s support and fundraising events. 

Copeland, who was released on bail, will be sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on September 15.

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Edited by mfsg - 30 Jul 2014 at 9:03am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mfsg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Nov 2014 at 9:04pm
Lest We Forget: Armed Forces Charity Sector In Danger Of Decline PDF Print E-mail

Despite the rightful attention given to our armed forces during the centenary of the First World War, newly revealed datashows signs that the number of armed forces charities and the amount of money donated to them are in decline

The most comprehensive analysis of the UK armed forces charities sector ever undertaken shows that the number of charities serving armed forces personnel declined by 7% over the last 5 years. In addition in 2012 the income of the majority of armed forces welfare charities declined for the first time since 2008.

This is during a period when the needs of beneficiaries are set to increase due to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the restructure of the Armed Forces, and cuts to the Ministry of Defence, NHS and other public services.

The analysis challenges common misconceptions held by some politicians and sections of the media that there are too many armed forces charities, they are uncoordinated and they are sitting on too much money.

In fact armed forces charities make up just 1.1% of the whole of the register of charities in England and Wales and have only 1.3% of the overall income. The total annual revenue of armed forces charities (England & Wales) is only £807 million, compared to for example the £6.4 billion revenue generated by healthcare charities.

Despite these challenges the armed forces charitable sector shows high levels of co-ordination, co-operation and cohesiveness in serving a beneficiary base of over 6 million current and ex-service personnel and their dependants.

Sector Insight: UK Armed Forces Charities delves into the finances, purposes and functions of over 2200 armed forces charities and is accompanied by the website which will be live from 3pm on Tuesday 18th November. This valuable new resource provides a comprehensive searchable database of the sector for anyone wishing to better understand the armed forces charities sector.

Both the publication and the website have been produced by the charity Directory of Social Change, with funding from the Forces in Mind Trust, and in collaboration with Cobseo - the Confederation of Service Charities.

Commenting on the project, DSC Chief Executive Debra Allcock Tyler said: "!I have seen at first hand the brilliant work and crucial support provided by Armed Forces Charities. We’re shining a light on them and the critical role they play by providing much needed evidence to donors, politicians and other decision makers. Our aim is that better information will lead to better policy and decision making. This is about the future of support for our brave service folk and their families. They deserve it.’

Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Ray Lock, said: “The findings of this unique project highlight some fundamental aspects about the health and development of the military charity sector. Now, more than ever, the need for collaboration within (and indeed without) the sector is key to its successful future.

"The report shows evidence of a high degree of collaboration and cooperation relative to other charitable sub-sectors, but this is no reason to be complacent. The aim of FiMT is to provide independent, evidence-based knowledge that can be used to improve every aspect of the sector, from policy to delivery, and the reputation and track record of DSC made it the obvious partner for this seminal guide.”

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2016 at 1:31pm
Today’s front pages carry a variety of stories. Of interest for Defence, The Mail on Sunday leads on a claim that Help For Heroes is being probed by the Charity Commission. This is based largely on reports made by "whistleblowing" staff who recently quit the military charity. The report says Help For Heroes denies the allegations and that its staff maintain high standards and points out that the Commission has not asked for a full investigation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2016 at 9:47am

Sunday February 7, 2016

Help for Heroes is appalled by the attack in today's Mail on Sunday. We have referred this to our lawyers and this article is now subject to a legal complaint.

By recklessly attacking an organisation which supports and represents the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, the Mail on Sunday is effectively putting at risk those who have been injured in the service of our Country by jeopardising the vital support they may receive in the future.

The Mail on Sunday only informed us yesterday that they were planning to write an article about the charity and gave us only a few hours to respond. No evidence to substantiate the claims was provided and the Mail refused to give us a proper opportunity to reply.

We replied in as much detail as possible and told the paper that the claims were false and without foundation. The Mail on Sunday had clearly selected its headline and let sensationalism get in the way of fact.

The reality is the following:
•Help for Heroes has sound safeguarding procedures and is registered and fully compliant with the Information Commissioner's Office.
•As with other leading organisations, including the NHS, Help for Heroes follows Caldicott Data-Sharing Principles to protect our beneficiaries and staff from harm. These specify that a charity has not only permission but a duty of care to share information internally if someone is felt to be a risk to themselves or others.
•Should an employee fail to meet required professional standards then action has to be taken. In these instances we adhere to legal advice.
•The Charity Commission is obliged to look into any allegation about a charity, regardless of the source. Help for Heroes is not subject to a statutory inquiry. To date, we have answered all their questions to their declared satisfaction and will continue to work closely with them.

H4H was launched in 2007 in response to a simple desire to support our wounded, injured and sick service personnel and their families. With the incredible support of the British public, H4H has been able to do precisely that since its launch, often in the face of inertia or even outright hostility from less informed quarters.

Far from losing our way, we have helped move care for British Service Personnel forward, working closely with over 60 specialist charity partners and as an active member of the Confederation of Service Charities (COBSEO).

We now have the world-leading Defence Recovery Capability, a unique partnership between the Ministry of Defence, The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes. No other nation cares for its Service Personnel and Veterans in such a co-ordinated manner, linking the Services, the leading charities, the public and corporate support. Other countries, including the United States, now work with us to shape best practice of the future.

Tim Collins and Kevan Jones appear to be worryingly ill-informed of the facts and we will invite them to visit our Recovery Centres to help address this:
•H4H has granted over £30m to specialist charity partners whose services collectively help support “The Blokes – the men and women of the Armed Forces”. These include Combat Stress (£6.5m) and Blind Veterans UK (£1m) and SSAFA (£500k) as well as partnering with BLESMA and RBL in support of our beneficiaries
•H4H aims to support wounded, injured and sick Servicemen, women, veterans and their loved ones from ALL conflicts: the oldest and youngest recipients of direct H4H Grants have been 96 and 18 years old respectively
•Within the last 12 months The Daily Mail itself has supported our fundraising for the 96-year-old World War Two veteran

The Mail on Sunday has hurt not only our beneficiaries but also every member of our team. This is unacceptable and we are taking legal advice about redress.

We and our beneficiaries are all rightly proud of what Help for Heroes does and we are honoured to work alongside some extraordinary volunteers and staff - people who always go the extra mile to help ‘the Blokes’. One need only read any of the many letters we regularly receive to see the impact of the work of our teams.

It really is as simple as that.

Thank you to all our staff, volunteers, fundraisers and many partners.

We are rebuilding lives and that is vital work; we are privileged to be a part of it and it is an honour to work alongside you all.

Keep believing in what we do and keep smiling!

Onwards and Upwards

Bryn Parry Signature

If you would like to talk to us directly please email

Edited by Elaine - 13 Feb 2016 at 9:51am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2016 at 11:07am

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Ashford Poppy Appeal thief Derek Russell given suspended prison sentence

16 February 2016

by Aidan Barlow

A thief who pocketed hundreds of pounds from Ashford’s Poppy Appeal has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Derek Russell pleaded guilty to stealing £605 from the Royal British Legion, where he had been the appeal organiser from 2014 up to November last year.

But the 53-year-old, who recently lost his job as a cleaner, was rumbled after his wife suspected him of pilfering funds when she saw wads of cash in his wallet.

She questioned Russell about the money, and at first he told her it was from a Territorial Army pension.

Despite his meagre earnings from Job Seekers Allowance, he bought fireworks, a new mobile phone and dolls and prams for his young family with the cash.

When his wife accused him of stealing from the Poppy Appeal he told her "well, they get plenty".

Russell's wife was herself the former secretary of the Ashford branch, and she informed the branch president Peter Bishop who checked the books and found cash missing.

In court it was revealed that in his role as Poppy Appeal organiser Russell was responsible for banking the cash, and would hit the streets and knock on doors to raise money alongside other volunteers.

But in the branch office in Church Road in Ashford town centre he would wait until other volunteers and branch members went to make tea or use the telephone to steal bank notes.

He was charged by the police shortly after Remembrance Sunday commemorations in November last year, and made his first appearance at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, February 3.

Judge Justin Barron told him: “This offence is inexplicable. You are a man of 53 with no previous convictions. It’s an obvious breach of public trust.”

Then on Monday, February 15 he reappeared at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court, where he admitted he bitterly regretted what he had done.

He said he was ashamed and disgusted with himself for betraying the trust of the Royal British Legion. His wife admitted that she had found it difficult to alert the branch to her husband’s theft.

"This offence is inexplicable. You are a man of 53 with no previous convictions. It’s an obvious breach of public trust" - Judge Justin Barron

Ashford Royal British Legion branch chairman Popiraj Rai last week said: “We are really shocked and saddened by what he has done in the name of our charity.

“This affects the trust of the public that we have lost, which is sad because lots of volunteers work really hard and give up so much time to help others.

“Then it is also hard for those who are veterans and their families suffering from injuries and their wounds, who have been affected by his crime.”

He said that while the crime took place before he and the new committee members were in post, they have reviewed the procedures to make sure there is no repeat of the incident.

Russell was given a six month prison sentence suspended for two years, and was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service. He was also ordered to repay all the money to the Royal British Legion

Edited by Elaine - 16 Feb 2016 at 11:08am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2016 at 6:10pm
Help for Heroes

Dear H4H Supporter.

On 7 and 14 Feb, 2016, The Mail on Sunday carried articles that reported that the Army was investigating H4H. The newspaper published those articles based on information from the Ministry of Defence which has subsequently proven to be wrong and the Mail on Sunday is now satisfied that there is no investigation into H4H from the Army.

H4H is very grateful to the Mail on Sunday for its apology. We recognise that the Mail on Sunday acted in good faith and accept the apology from a newspaper that we have enjoyed a good relationship with in the past and look forward to in future. We are very appreciative of this sincere approach and we thank all involved for their approach to this difficult matter.

This is the apology as it appears in today’s print edition of the paper, and which will be on the Mail Online website for the next 24 hours:

An article on February 14 headed ‘Top General’s investigation into ‘impropriety’ at Help for Heroes’ reported Ministry of Defence statements that inquiries were being made about allegations concerning a Help for Heroes recovery centre. The MOD has now changed its previous statements and says there is not, nor has there been, any investigation. We are now satisfied that there is no investigation into H4H from the Army. We apologise for the confusion and any embarrassment these conflicting statements have caused to H4H.

I am incredibly grateful to all our volunteers, supporters and partners for your dedication to improving the lives of 'the blokes'. Why not continue that by hosting a celebratory BBQ for Heroes in the sunshine (if there is any...) this Bank Holiday?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2016 at 11:34am
Shame of the poppy day profiteers: Charity is banned in crackdown on rogues ripping off our heroes while another raised £3million - but gave out just £250,000
Support The Heroes was shut down on the eve of Remembrance Sunday
It allegedly mislead the public over how much it gives to good causes
Other military charities also under investigation by Charity Commission

By Mark Nicol and Michael Powell for The Mail on Sunday

Published: 00:54, 13 November 2016 | Updated: 02:03, 13 November 2016

A military charity has been banned from collecting donations amid growing concerns that rogue fundraisers are pocketing millions of pounds intended to help wounded war veterans.

Support The Heroes was dramatically closed down on the eve of Remembrance Sunday after it was exposed for allegedly misleading the public over how much money it gives to good causes.

Two more military charities are also being investigated after failing to pass on to veterans the vast majority of money they collected.

According to the Charity Commission, which regulates fundraising, one group – Our Local Heroes Foundation – received £500,000 in donations in 2015 but spent only £10,000 on projects to help veterans.

As the nation prepared to remember the fallen today, Conservative MP James Heappey described the activities of these charities and their fundraisers as ‘deceiving the public on an industrial scale’.

And former Army commander General Sir Mike Jackson called for a clampdown. He said: ‘It is very alarming to learn so much of the money given so generously by the British public has gone to fundraising companies and on administration costs.’

Charity Commission chairman William Shawcross added: ‘There are unscrupulous people who seek to pervert and exploit the generosity of the public for their personal benefit. We have warned charities that this dishonest or unethical behaviour by their fundraisers damages public trust and confidence.’

Support The Heroes was set up in 2014 to help veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It has been ordered to suspend operations after BBC investigators filmed collectors falsely telling members of the public that every penny they donated went to good causes. In fact, the charity pays 33 per cent of everything it collects to a professional fund raising company, Targeted Management Ltd.

The firm is run by Tony Chadwick, from Blackpool, who is linked to a network of veterans’ charities that have raised millions from the public but spent almost nothing on veterans.

Mr Chadwick last night denied any wrongdoing.

An alleged conflict of interest is also being investigated because Support The Heroes is run by two of Mr Chadwick’s former business partners.

According to the most recent accounts, the charity has raised £191,948. More than £60,000 was paid to Targeted Management.

The same company had a contract that guaranteed it up to 80 per cent of the money collected for Our Local Heroes Foundation over five years, according to the Charity Commission.

Another company run by Mr Chadwick, called Prize Promotions Ltd, was used by Afghan Heroes, a charity backed by Prince Harry. The charity, set up by mothers of troops killed in Afghanistan, raised £3.1 million but passed on only £250,000 to projects supporting veterans.

The Charity Commission is trying to claw back £2.9 million from Prize Promotions

Mr Chadwick’s firm sold raffle tickets in aid of Afghan Heroes at stalls in shopping centres across the country. One of Afghan Heroes founding members, Lucy Aldridge – whose son William, 18, was the youngest UK soldier to die in Afghanistan – said: ‘Any Tom, Dick or Harry can set up a military charity.

‘This has allowed some very unsavoury individuals to exploit the generosity of the British public. It has gone on unchecked up and down the country for many years.’

Mr Heappey backed Mrs Aldridge and said: ‘On Remembrance Sunday it is disgusting that the sacrifices of our soldiers are being used to justify these rackets.’

The conduct of these charities is in stark contrast to the fundraising practices of the Royal British Legion, which in the weeks before Remembrance Sunday deploys an army of more than 150,000 volunteers who bring in £40 million.

Mr Chadwick denied he owed any money to Afghan Heroes and said his firm’s fundraising contract with charities was ‘agreed verbally and via emails.’ He said last night: ‘The Charity Commission has taken no action against me, Prize Promotions or Targeted Management, or has even been in touch with me. All the fundraising followed standard practices within the fundraising industry.’

Asked about income from Support The Heroes, he said: ‘All the monies received at the promotions, whether through donation or sales of products, is paid to the charity.’

Support the Heroes trustee Pauline White denied breaking charity rules and claimed it had donated more than £220,000 to good causes.

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Edited by Elaine - 13 Nov 2016 at 12:11pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2018 at 2:09am
A woman has admitted stealing thousands of pounds from a charity that supports the families of servicemen and women who have been killed in action.

Judith Thom, 41, of Grasmere Street, Carlisle, stole £5,600 from the Forces Support Charity while she was working as an assistant manager in the city.

She kept the daily takings instead of banking them during March and April 2016.

She admitted theft and was given a suspended eight-month prison sentence.

'Mean and horrible'

Carlisle Crown Court heard she was in "significant debt" at the time, and trying to help her son who was absent without leave (awol) from the forces.

At first she denied the charge and produced fake receipts as evidence.

But she later admitted theft and was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

She must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work and undergo rehabilitation.

Recorder Philip Curran told her that it had been "a mean and horrible thing to do; particularly when one thinks that today, when you are being sentenced, we are a couple of days away from Remembrance Sunday".
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