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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Cumbria rescuers must wait as wrangle over owed cash heads to court

A VOLUNTEER Cumbria rescue team owed £4,700 by a defunct charity must wait for the outcome of a court case to see if any cash can be recovered.

waiting game Training officer Mike Davis with one of the Bay Search and Rescue Team’s Hagglund all-terrain off-road rescue vehicles SHEENAH ALCOCK REF: 50003863B000

The Bay Search and Rescue Team, which pulled hundreds of motorists from freezing snowdrifts around Millom and west Cumbria in March, had enlisted the services of website CharityGiving UK to collect public donations.

On July 12 the Dove Trust, which runs the website, was shut down by The Charity Commission as part of an investigation.

The CC appointed Pesh Framjee, of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, interim manager of the trust’s finances, but announced it had referred the case to the courts on December 23.

Mike Davis, training officer at BSR, said: “Every year we have a cross-bay walk and for the last three years we have used the website CharityGiving to collect money, as they were the most competitive in terms of cost.

“The money would have been used to cover a percentage of our insurance costs so we have had to pull the purse strings much tighter.

“The weekend of the snow we spent £1,000 on diesel alone. Every penny is hard to find but hopefully there will be no long-term effect.”

This year BSR spent £7,000 replacing the engine of one of its three off-road Hagglund vehicles, which were vital in getting to cut-off communities during March’s freak weather.

The team opened a charity shop in Grange in May, which has raised around £25,000 in revenue, and a second in Milnthorpe in December.

Mr Davis added: “We have had some big expenditures but we had some money in reserve and the shops give us much greater financial stability.”

The CC says £500,000 is currently available for an initial distribution to more than 1,800 charities and good causes owed around £2.2m by the Trust.

Michelle Russell, head of investigations and enforcement at the CC, said: “We know many charities have been waiting patiently for the amounts they are owed and they and their donors will feel frustrated that this is now going to court.

“But because of the legal complexities in this case, we have no choice but to seek the court’s decision as to which process must be followed.”

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