Thousands In Charity Donations For Teenage Cycle Ride Go Missing
The online donations site has now been suspended by the Charity Commission
The family of two local teenagers on an epic charity cycle ride say thousands of pounds in donations are missing. The Charity Commission has now launched an investigation into the online donation site, 'CharityGiving'.
The boys, William Price (14) and Fabrice Lavenir (16) both play for Wasps, and, alongside lifelong friend Robert (67) a retired French patissier, have been cycling 3150 km from Budapest to Moulin in France. They are at present unaware of the developments back home in the UK.
Nearly three thousand pounds has been raised, but at the weekend organisers heard the donation site 'Charity Giving' had been suspended for mismanagement of funds.
Serge Betson with William and Fabrice at Heathrow before they left
Michelle Russell, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission 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 the donors and fundraisers who have collected money for the charity through the site and for the charities who are expecting to receive those funds.
''However it is now clear that the financial situation of the charity means there was no option but to suspend the online portal. We know that the public will be concerned to ensure that donations made reach the charities for whom they were intended, and the interim manager will now undertake an urgent, detailed review of the charity’s finances to establish the extent of the shortfall and which charities and donors are affected.''
An interim manager has been appointed to investigate the situation at the online portal.
William's mother, Sally Price, who runs Insider Dealings on Chiswick High Road, says the boys are currently in Germany and don't know what's happened. ''We are shocked and devastated that the money given generously by friends and family is unlikely to be seen by the Serge Betsen Academy and the French Red Cross.
''We have been working towards this for nearly a year, and hope that this experience will not discourage our teenage sons from wanting to help other young people less advantaged than themselves.
''We hope to make up the lost money through wider community support and also hope that this situation cannot be allowed to occur again, and have already contacted our local MP Angie Bray to ask if she can help in this matter.''
A new donation site has now been set up and family and friends are appealing for any support.
The families became aware that something was amiss when a potential donor tried to use the CharityGiving site at the weekend and could not make it work.
Sally said that the boys were currently cycling in difficult conditions, in very high temperatures and carrying heavy loads. They have completed about 500miles of the 2,000 mile cycle and would be "distraught to say the least" at the news.
They're raising money for the French Red Cross and the Serge Betsen academy which uses rugby to help disadvantaged and underprivileged children in Cameroon. Serge Betsen Tchoua is a French former rugby union player who played as a flanker for London Wasps and Biarritz at club level and for France internationally.
The group is expected back in London at the end of July.
In 2011, Robert and William completed their first sporting challenge in aid of the Serge Betsen Academy by undertaking a 671 mile cycle ride from London to Moulins in France. They raised 8,000 euros and were able to help this charity to improve the lives of seriously underprivileged children in Cameroon.
July 16, 2013