Monday, 7 April 2008

Air ambulance in fundraising row

PUBLIC representatives say money raised by people for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal has been paid to a private fundraising firm without consultation.

Dr Richard Riseley-Prichard, of Allington, near Devizes, and Ann Levick, of Codford, longstanding members of the the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal Committee, were amazed to be told Great Western Ambulance Service had re-employed consultant Loquendi.

It has quoted a price of £3,000 a month, plus VAT.

The GWAS board is the sole trustee of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal but guidance from the Charity Commission states trustees of air ambulance charities must not be directed by ambulance services and should be independent.

Dr Riseley-Prichard and Mrs Levick are the only independent advisers of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal Committee. The other members are chairman Karl Henderson, GWAS director of finance, Alan Veasey, GWAS head of financial accounting and paramedic Richard Miller.

Dr Riseley-Prichard and Mrs Levick were told at a committee meeting on February 22 GWAS had reappointed Loquendi until a permanent fundraiser is found to replace part-timer Tracey Edwards, who left last January.
Dr Riseley-Prichard, who co-founded the appeal committee in 1990, said: "We asked how much money Loquendi had brought into the appeal and Karl Henderson couldn't tell us.

"Both Ann Levick and I strongly disapproved of employing Loquendi and we thought that any kind of future decisions should be referred to us otherwise there was no point in us being advisers.

"We would prefer to have a single fundraiser as we have had in the past, rather than a firm."

Mrs Levick said: "I think it was unnecessary to have employed Loquendi and think the appointment of them is dubious value.

"The people of Wiltshire keep happily giving money to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Appeal and give it no matter who is in charge of fundraising."

Loquendi was appointed on a caretaker basis by the Great Western Ambulance Service last summer for three months and was paid £4,000, plus VAT.

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