Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Charity asked pensioner for £100,000

Published 31/05/2015

Retired BT engineer Robert Newman was asked to pay £2,777 a month for three years
Retired BT engineer Robert Newman was asked to pay £2,777 a month for three years

A children's charity has "wholeheartedly" apologised after it asked an 80-year-old cancer survivor to donate £100,000.

The Children's Society said it intended to approach "well-off individuals" when it launched its fund-raising initiative but a number of people were wrongly contacted.

Retired BT engineer Robert Newman told the Sun on Sunday newspaper that the charity wrote to him twice in seven days, urging him to pay £2,777 a month for three years.

It comes after one of Britain's oldest and longest-serving poppy sellers was found dead after receiving hundreds of letters a month from charities.

Olive Cooke, 92, died from from multiple injuries after jumping into Avon Gorge on May 6. H er family have insisted that - while the letters and phone calls were intrusive and a nuisance - the charities were not to blame for Mrs Cooke's death.

Mr Newman, who was treated for bowel cancer five years ago, said he had never previously donated to the Children's Society but was asked to cover the cost of a project worker for three years.

The pensioner, of Ealing, west London, told the Sun on Sunday: "Some elderly people who are not on the ball might feel they have to fund something like this. They could be frightened and pay up. I'd have to sell my house to pay for it."

The Children's Society, which s upports vulnerable children in England and Wales, said it initially sent out 20,000 letters as part of a fundraising drive in March to pay for 160 more frontline workers.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children's Society, told the Press Association: " We worked together with an agency to identify potential donors with the ability to generously support our work.

"Unfortunately a number of people were contacted who we had never intended to include. We wholeheartedly apologise to any individuals who were wrongly approached, or who have taken offence at our requests for help.

"As soon as issues came to light we immediately launched an investigation about what went wrong with this particular initiative. We are very committed to responding to every complaint we have received.

"We are very sorry that wrongly selected individuals have been inconvenienced or distressed and are doing everything we can to make sure this does not happen in the future."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph