Captain Tom Foundation slammed for 'damaging' NHS hero's brand, amid questions over book profits

13 November 2023, 08:18 | Updated: 14 November 2023, 15:58

Captain Tom and his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore
Captain Tom and his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Kit Heren

The Captain Tom Foundation has been criticised for damaging the brand of the NHS fundraiser who gave it its name, a charity lawyer has claimed.

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Liz Brownsell said that the heroic NHS fundraiser would always be "very much loved", despite questions over how the money raised separately for his charity has been spent since his death.

Speaking in a documentary that looks into the spending of the Captain Tom Foundation, Ms Brownsell said the Second World War was "seen as the nation's grandfather".

Captain Tom: Where did the Money Go? investigates outgoings at the charity, launched in 2020 with the aim of supporting the elderly, and looks at the money raised in sales from Captain Tom's three books.

Captain Tom's daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore has admitted her company gained £800,000 from the sales of Captain Tom's Life Lessons, One Hundred Steps and his autobiography Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day.

Read More: Inside the fight for Captain Tom's legacy: 'The hero, his daughter and the illegally built home-spa'

Read More: : Captain Tom Moore's family lose planning appeal over unauthorised spa

Captain Tom Moore and Hannah Ingram-Moore
Captain Tom Moore and Hannah Ingram-Moore. Picture: Getty

She said that this was what her father wanted. But the prologue to his autobiography suggests that the money may have been earmarked for the Captain Tom Foundation. Ms Ingram-Moore has insisted she and her husband never took "a penny" directly from the Captain Tom Foundation for personal gain.

Ms Brownsell, of the law firm Birketts, says in the documentary: "Captain Sir Tom Moore will always be somebody who is very much loved, and is seen as the nation's grandfather. It's really sad that the brand itself has been damaged.

But she added: "On the foundation website it says 'His autobiography and a children's book' will support his newly formed charity The Captain Tom Foundation."

Captain Tom raised nearly £39 million for the NHS in lockdown
Captain Tom raised nearly £39 million for the NHS in lockdown. Picture: Getty

Ms Burkett also points out that the prologue of his autobiography reads: "Astonishingly at my age, with the offer to write this memoir I've also been given the chance to raise even more money for the charitable foundation now established in my name.

She adds: "And so that's the problem".

The Charity Commission launched a statutory inquiry into the Captain Tom Foundation last year over decisions that "may have generated a significant profit" for a company run by the couple.

It said Club Nook Ltd, a separate firm, had been given the "opportunity to trademark variations of the name 'Captain Tom' without objection from the charity, which raised money from branded products including gin and T-shirts.

He was knighted by the Queen
He was knighted by the Queen. Picture: Getty

The commission previously turned down an application for Ingram-Moore to become the foundation's chief executive on £100,000-a-year – a salary similar to that run by the heads of major charities.

She was later allowed to take the post on an interim basis on the equivalent of £85,000-a-year.

The charity is likely to stop operating because of the Charity Commission probe.

And the Ingram-Moores are facing another headache after the planning inspectorate ruled last week that a spa complex they built without permission would have to be demolished within three months.

The spa with Captain Tom's family home in the background
The spa with Captain Tom's family home in the background. Picture: Alamy

The family will also need to remove all building materials and restore the land to its "former condition". They now have six weeks to appeal the decision. An L-shaped building in the grounds of their Bedfordshire home had been given the green light but a retrospective application in 2022 for a larger C-shaped building containing the spa was refused.

Sir Tom raised £38.9 million for the NHS at the height of the first national Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020 by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. He died in February 2021.

The money he raised for the NHS is entirely separate from the Captain Tom Foundation, and is not under investigation.

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