Time to stop charity scams warns MP

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden (front centre) held a forum for army veterans about the challenges they face.
Among the participants was Sergeant Rick Clements (front right) who was injured in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden (front centre) held a forum for army veterans about the challenges they face. Among the participants was Sergeant Rick Clements (front right) who was injured in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan.

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A call for more scrutiny of veterans charities has been made following a forum in Blackpool to look at the challenges facing those who have left the armed services.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden organised the event with armed forces groups at Holy Trinity Church in South Shore.

Speakers included Sgt Rick Clement, who served in Afghanistan, and Lieut Col Johnny Lighten from the Duke of Lancaster Regiment.

Mr Marsden said: “A lot of veterans charities have sprung up and most are bona fida.But sadly in a minority of cases they are being used by scammers as a front to get money.

“Who is looking at this sector? I think there needs to be more quality assurance.”

This week Marvin Trussell, of Glen Eldon Road, St Annes, was jailed for three years after a court heard he had pocketed more than £50,000 of charity donations after setting up a bogus charity Army of Heroes.

Other issues raised at the forum included the funding crisis hitting some charities, and the implementation of the military covenant which recognises the nation’s obligation to the way members of the armed forces are treated.

Mr Marsden, who is chairman of the Parliamentary Veterans Group, added; “It was a good exchange of views and a report will be sent to the veterans minister Mark Lancaster.

“I shall also be writing to Theresa May on three specific issues - the funding crisis beginning to hit charities, the veterans minister being given too many other roles, and for her to look very closely at ways of implementing the military covenant.

“We mustn’t forget veterans of all ages, from those who served in the Second World War to younger veterans from Korea, the Malayan Emergency in the 1950s and coming through to Northern Ireland and the Falkands.

“We have to get the right balance between practical support and general psychological support, and we need people who have been in service themselves to support veterans.”

Last week Mr Marsden quizzed Mrs May on the issue at Prime Minister’s Question Time.