Captain Tom Foundation investigated by Charity Commission over accounts and governance

Captain Tom became a national hero with his fundraising effort to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
Credit: PA
Captain Tom became a national hero with his fundraising effort to walk 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. Credit: PA

The Captain Tom Foundation is being investigated by the charities watchdog after concerns were raised over its accounts and governance.

The Charity Commission has confirmed it has an open case looking at the regulatory compliance of the charity, which was set up to continue the legacy of the fundraising national hero.

In its first year, the foundation received donations of nearly £1.1m, of which it spent less than half - paying out grants of £160,000 to good causes while spending £240,000 on management and fundraising costs, according to its audited accounts.

The commission has been working with the foundation since March 2021 after concerns were raised over its governance. Further concerns were highlighted on Friday when its official accounts were filed.

A spokesman said: “We have been in ongoing contact with the trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation on its set-up and governance arrangements and as part of this work will now assess the charity’s recently submitted accounts.”

In response to the investigation, the Captain Tom Foundation's chair of trustees, Stephen Jones, said: "As a young charity, we have been working closely with the Charity Commission since we launched, and we welcome their input following the publication of our recent audited annual accounts."

Captain Tom was knighted by the Queen at Windsor in the summer of 2020. Credit: PA

The foundation was founded in June 2020 to build upon the fundraising efforts of the army veteran Captain Sir Tom Moore, of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire, whose mission to complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in the first national lockdown saw him become a national treasure.

His efforts raised nearly £39m after gift aid for NHS Charities Together, and he was knighted by the Queen in the summer of 2020 before dying with coronavirus in February 2021.

The foundation aims to improve social inclusion, in particular for older generations, with the creation of a Captain Tom Day - described as a Children in Need-style event to celebrate older people - one of its main ambitions.

Reimbursing family companies

Audited accounts for the charity for the period 5 May 2020 to 31 May 2021 show that it received income of nearly £1.1m, and made charitable grants totalling £160,000 - a donation of £40,000 to each of the Royal British Legion, Mind, Willen Hospice, and Helen and Douglas House.

In that time it also spent £240,000 on costs grouped under the heading of fundraising - made up of £162,336 in management costs, which included £126,424 in "fundraising consultancy fees" and £20,884 in advertising and marketing costs.

The accounts also detail payments to companies run by Captain Sir Tom's daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin, paying back costs the companies incurred in promoting the foundation.

They include £16,097 to Club Nook for "accommodation, security and transport relating to Captain Sir Tom Moore travelling around the UK to promote the charitable company".

Payments of £37,942 were also made to Maytrix Group, also run by Mr and Mrs Ingram-Moore, which included £27,205 in consultancy fees, as well as website costs (£5,030) and office rental (£4,500).

"These costs were initially funded by Maytrix Group Limited on behalf of the charitable company, and reimbursed when sufficient funds were available," said the accounts.

At the end of May 2021, the period covered by the accounts, the charity had total funds of £695,889. It expects to need around £500,000 of reserves on an ongoing basis to meet its commitments, it said.

In a statement in the accounts, the foundation said: "As a newly established charity, expenditure has been incurred in building the team, which for some months worked on a voluntary basis until funds were forthcoming.

"During this period, we also incurred costs in appointing The Philanthropy Company who provided expert support on governance and fundraising initiatives as well as working with our charity partners to identify initiatives that the foundation could support and which would drive value and public benefit."

Donations were also made to three charities - the Edith Cavell Fund for Nurses, The Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, and The Florence Nightingale Foundation - after the period of the accounts.