- On 30 June 2015, I noticed that the military charity Our Local Heroes Foundation had again redesigned its website. There was an important omission, though: patron Ben Wallace MP had disappeared. I couldn’t see his name or photo on the section of the homepage then listing patrons. There were now two patrons. Yet Mr Wallace’s website (www.benwallacemp.com) had nothing to indicate a change in his relationship with the charity.
- As a patron, the MP for Wyre and Preston North has defended the charity and its fundraising activities with Prize Promotions Limited of Blackpool to both me and others, including BBC Radio 5 live (see para 11 in my 26 December 2014 post).
- As an MP, Mr Wallace lends credibility to Our Local Heroes Foundation. Further, he’s been a minister since May 2015 – Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. His endorsement is worth even more because he himself is ex-military. People will assume that the charity is credible as Mr Wallace will surely have done due diligence. But former Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP was a patron of failed military charity Afghan Heroes (as was comedian Bobby Ball). Talking of Afghan Heroes, it too worked with the discredited professional fundraiser, Prize Promotions Limited.
- On 30 June 2015, I emailed Mr Wallace at parliament to ask whether his vanishing from the Our Local Heroes Foundation website meant he was no longer a patron. If so, as of when? No response.
- Two weeks later, I sent a reminder because he still wasn’t listed as a patron on the charity homepage at 14 July 2015. Again, no response.
- Nine weeks after my first message I emailed Mr Wallace a final time 1 September 2015 seeking a response to my 30 June 2015 message. Still nothing.
- The unresponsiveness of Mr Wallace is unacceptable, especially because he was responsive previously. Trustees of charities must be accountable; but so should patrons (see my 13 August 2015 post). I’ve discovered celebrity patrons unwilling to answer legitimate questions about involvement with a charity: trusted TV presenter Valerie Singleton, for example (see my 16 July 2014 post). Mr Wallace isn’t a celebrity. It is reasonable to expect an MP – let alone minister – to be accountable.