Mystery of charity cash frozen by watchdog

Tracy Child. (d614a240)
Tracy Child. (d614a240)

A cancer charity could be left thousands of pounds out of pocket after an online site collecting its donations was frozen.

More than £5,500 raised for the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline, including more than £1,000 by Spen people, could be lost for good after it was discovered the Dove Trust, which runs, did not have enough funds to pay the charities it had been collecting for.

Now the Charity Commission has launched an inquiry into the management of the site.

And Gomersal’s Tracy Child, who had a double mastectomy to avoid getting cancer after finding out she had the BRCA1 gene, is worried money she, her friends and family have raised for NHBCH, will be lost for good, putting the helpline seriously out of pocket.

She said: “This money is crucial to keeping the helpline going and we are struggling to find out whether we are going to lose it.

“We chose the site after lots of research. They had 30 years’ experience and it seemed the best choice. You trust organisations that have been going a long time – you don’t think for a second this kind of thing would happen.

“people have given so generously. It’s so disappointing.”

She has also been raising awareness of hereditary breast cancer, which hit headlines in May when Hollywood star Angelina Jolie revealed she was a BRCA1 carrier and had undergone a double mastectomy.

Tracy’s most recent event was a gala in Gomersal two weekends ago, but the £850 raised from that is safe.

It was organised jointly with the Ginger Whale Deli and Wine Shop and Wired Hair and Beauty in Gomersal.

The Charity Commission is conducting an investigation into the Dove Trust after discovering the trustees had not filed accounts for four years.

Michelle Russell, head of investigations and enforcement, said: “We have taken this action because of serious concerns about the trustees’ management of the fundraising portal and the charity’s financial situation.

“We recognise this will cause concern among those who have collected money through the site and for the charities who are expecting to receive those funds. However there was no option but to suspend the online portal.

“We know the public will be concerned donations reach their charities, and we will now undertake an urgent, detailed review to establish the extent of the shortfall and who is affected.”

Funds donated on or after July 12 should be automatically directed back to donors through their banks. Anyone with concerns can phone 0207 8427313.