Captain Tom Day postponed over Charity Commission probe into spending of Captain Tom Foundation
The inaugural Capt Tom Day has been postponed, as the charity watchdog probes the finances of the charity set up in the veteran fundraiser's name.
The event had been due to take place in June after the Captain Tom Foundation and Dame Esther Rantzen teamed up on plans to hold an event celebrating older people.
But Dame Esther has now confirmed that plans will be shelved until a probe into the foundation's finances by the Charity Commission has concluded.
She said in a statement: "I am waiting to see the results of this Charity Commission report, so at the moment our plans are on hold but I believe Captain Tom deserves the legacy this special day would create, so that his memory will provide crucial funds for older people who need help and support in the future."
The watchdog began looking into charity's finances earlier this month after concerns were raised over its governance and spending.
In its first year, the foundation set up in Capt Sir Tom Moore's name 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 charity said at the time that it had been "working closely with the Charity Commission since we launched, and we welcome their input".
'Awe-struck' at Captain Tom
Dame Esther said she had been keen to work with the foundation, having been "awe-struck" by Captain Tom's "courage, wisdom, humour and determination".
She said she had been contacted by Captain Tom's daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore to create a day in his honour "which would be a kind of Children in Need for older people".
"It is an idea that I have been working on for years without success because older people don’t seem to inspire the compassion and generosity they deserve but Captain Tom seemed the perfect way to change that," she said.
A date had not been set for the first Captain Tom Day but it was due to be held in June of this year.
Two days ago the Capt Tom Foundation tweeted to thank people for their support in the light of the Charity Commission's investigation.
"Over the past few weeks, we've seen your lovely messages and from everyone here at the foundation, we wanted to say thank you so much," it read.
The foundation was founded in June 2020 to build upon the fundraising efforts of the army veteran, 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 and Captain Tom Day was one of its main ambitions.
In a statement posted on its website seeking to clarify the charity's spending, the foundation said the payments itemised in the accounts "relate to the reimbursement of costs paid for by companies owned or controlled by the Ingram-Moore family during the foundation's start-up phase".
"These costs were reviewed by the independent trustees and payment was authorised by them," it added.
The statement also pointed out that the £39m raised directly by Capt Sir Tom's fundraising walk was paid directly to NHS Charities Together.