Former trustee ordered to repay £117,000 following ‘cash for dragon’ scandal

A former trustee who used charity funds on a project to build a 210ft Welsh dragon as a tourist attraction has been ordered to repay £117,000, following a High Court ruling.

The High Court case had been brought by the Charity Commission after The Frank Wingett Cancer Relief Fund came under scrutiny when its sole trustee Simon Wingett used charity cash on a plan to build a 210ft statue of a Welsh dragon.

The regulator found that the dragon plans had “no connection to advancing the charity’s aims” and notes that to date no statue had been built.

The High Court has ordered to replay £117,000 of the charity’s money.

The Frank Wingett Cancer Relief Fund had been set up to support the medical and surgical needs of cancer patients in the Wrexham area.

Once collected the repaid money will be handed by the Charity Commission to charities in the same area supporting cancer patients.

Three years ago, Wingett was banned from sitting on trustee boards and senior management roles at charities for 10 years.

“Charity trustees hold important positions of trust. We – and the public – expect trustees to ensure financial decisions are taken in the best interests of the charity and those it serves to benefit,” said Charity Commission assistant director of casework Tracy Howarth.

“Mr Wingett’s significant misuse of funds was an abuse of the trust placed in him by the many donors to the charity.

“This ruling will ensure the charitable proceeds raised are now directed to the benefit of those in the local community they were intended for.”

At the High Court hearing earlier this month Wingett was also ordered to pay £9,755 to cover the regulator’s legal costs.

The Frank Wingett Cancer Relief Fund has since been removed from the charities register. Its last available accounts for the year ending June 2014 show it had an income of £46,787 and a total expenditure of £41,208.

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