The Captain Tom Foundation has postponed an annual fundraising event, which would have raised funds for charities that support older people, because of ongoing regulatory scrutiny.
Captain Tom Day was set to be in June and the charity had partnered with Esther Rantzen, founder of The Silver Line, to deliver the event. Captain Tom's daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, wanted the event to be “like Children in Need and Comic Relief” but with all funds raised going to charities that support Britain’s ageing population.
However, in an interview on This Morning, Ingram-Moore admitted that the event would not go ahead. She said: “We couldn’t possibly do it this year, whilst the Charity Commission are working with us and reviewing.”
The Commission is currently reviewing the charity’s accounts, and the Fundraising Regulator and Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) also engaged with the charity last year.
In regards to the Commission’s involvement, Ingram-Moore said: “It’s not an investigation – we have worked with them as a fledgling charity and we welcome them.”
Controversy surrounding the charity has been rife since the publication of its annual accounts last month. Ingram-Moore told hosts of This Morning that her 13-year-old daughter asked her “why do people hate you?” due to the backlash.
Event partner Rantzen told Civil Society News: “I am waiting to see the results of this Charity Commission report so at the moment the plans are on hold but I believe Captain Tom deserves the legacy this special day would create so that his memory will provide crucial funds for older people who need help and support in the future. I have had no official role and the dispersal of funds raised would be decided by an independent committee of experts in the sector.”
The charity was set up in March 2020 to continue Captain Tom's legacy after he raised almost £39m for NHS Charities Together during lockdown.
Payments to family-controlled companies were ‘loans’
The Captain Tom Foundation’s accounts state that more than £50,000 was reimbursed to companies controlled by family members.
More than £16,000 was paid to Club Nook which is controlled by Ingram-Moore. According to The Independent, the company was set up two weeks before the payment was made.
The payment to Club Nook was “in respect of accommodation, security and transport relating to Captain Sir Tom Moore travelling around the UK to promote the charitable company”, the accounts read.
Another payment of £37,942 was made to Maytrix Group Limited, a company under the control of Ingram-Moore and her husband. This figure was in relation to website, photography, office rental, telephone and third-party consultancy costs, according to the charity's accounts.
In the ITV interview, Ingram-Moore claimed this was the repayment from the businesses to the charity.
She said: “My business loaned the foundation some money because we didn’t want to eat into the first donation we had which was £100,000 from a corporate donator.
“We didn’t want to take all that money for costs, so we loaned it. We were also lending money from my company that was suffering during the pandemic so we needed to have it reimbursed. What happened, so, very straightforward, when the charity had a bit more money we reimbursed those costs and that landed us a headline,” she said.
During the interview, Ingram-Moore denied that she tried to appoint herself as CEO of the charity on a six-figure salary, a claim The Independent published last month.
‘We’ve been incredibly naïve’
Host Philip Schofield asked Ingram-Moore if she could have been naïve when setting up the Captain Tom Foundation.
She replied: “I think we’ve been incredibly naïve, but I don’t think that that means we’re bad. I think that we’re wholesome, good people and we run businesses we understand. We stepped into this for love, for humanity, for allowing as many people as we can have access to his legacy. We never thought about the darkness [it] never, never crossed our minds.”
The charity released a statement in response to the backlash thanking its supporters.
This article has been edited to include a quote from Esther Rantzen.