BY TOBY PORTER
One of London’s biggest childrens’ hospital charities has confirmed it will not be handing back past donations totalling more than £360,000 from the controversial Presidents Club.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the trust for Evelina Children’s Hospital, in Waterloo, said it would have to keep £365,000 it had originally hoped to return to the donors.
The money was raised in past years by events organised by the disgraced club.
The Presidents Club had already given Evelina a total of £265,000 over the course of the past 10 years, with amounts donated in 1998, 2013, 2016 and last year.
But the board of Evelina Hospital, within hours of the allegations about the club coming to light, said that it did not wish to receive £400,000 pledged at the male-only fundraiser on January 18.
During the controversial dinner, businessman Richard Caring, owner of London restaurants The Ivy and Scott’s, placed a bid of £400,000 to place his name on a new high dependency unit at the Evelina.
But the Charity Commission has now told the trust not to return the cash because to do so would not comply with the trust’s own rules – because its job is not to hand money over to members of the Presidents Club.
A spokeswoman for Evelina said: “We sought clarification from the Charity Commission on the status of historic donations.
“With regards to historic donations, they have all been spent or are fully committed to two developments that are currently under way as part of the trust’s expansion plans for Evelina London Children’s Hospital – a new high dependency unit that will enable us to care for seriously ill children and an expanded clinical research facility that will allow us to increase the number of children and young people in clinical trials.”
Chief executive Kieron Boyle said: “Given the nature of reported activity at the Presidents Club fundraising event on January 18, 2018, we are not accepting donations from the event.
“We sought clarification from the Charity Commission on the status of historic donations. Following their more detailed guidance, and in light of the Presidents Club Charitable Trust closing, we are retaining previous donations as we cannot return these in line with our charitable objects.”
Organisers of the Presidents Club event said they were “appalled” by allegations of impropriety. The club has since closed.
A spokesman said last month: “The Presidents Club hosted its annual dinner, raising several million pounds for disadvantaged children. Such behaviour is unacceptable. The allegations will be investigated fully and promptly and appropriate action taken.”
The Dorchester insisted it had a zero-tolerance policy to harassment of employees and guests. Their spokeswoman said: “We are unaware of any allegations and should we be contacted we will work with the relevant authorities as necessary.”