The organiser of a fundraising event that went wrong has decided to withhold the money raised to pay for possible legal fees, and has the backing of the beneficiary charity.
Russ Nathan, the volunteer organiser of last November’s ‘Ferrari Funday’, has been holding on to the money raised at the event for the Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance following a crash at the event which saw a sports car go up in flames.
Neither the owner of the car or the passenger who had paid £10 for the opportunity to ride in the vehicle, were hurt in the accident.
Nathan, who is a member of the Thames Valley Ferrari Owners’ Club, had feared he would be out of pocket in paying any potential legal costs, and indeed has since been ordered to attend a formal interview, under caution, by West Berkshire Council health and safety officials. They advised him to bring a solicitor to the meeting.
The Charity Commission has called for the full amount raised to be handed over to the charity.
A Commission spokeswoman said: “Any money, including cheques and other negotiable instruments, acquired for the benefit of a charity must be paid in full, without deduction of fees or expenses, to the charity as soon as reasonably practicable.”
But the air ambulance organisation has publicly backed Nathan’s decision to withhold the money until the outcome of any legal dispute is known.
Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance head of fundraising Pat Conafray told Civil Society the charity was treating this event just like any other fundraising effort organised by a third party – it would expect the organisers to deduct their costs first before handing over the net proceeds. If this includes legal costs then so be it, he said.
He added that this was the fourth or fifth Ferrari Funday the club had organised to raise money for the charity, and usually raised in the region of £18,000 to £20,000.
Nathan told Newbury Today: “We have public liability insurance and everything necessary for such an event as this but it does not cover us for the costs of a lengthy legal procedure.”
The meeting with the council was due to take place on 29 March but has to be rescheduled after Nathan could not attend.