Charity Donation Disappointment For Acton Teens

Thousands of pounds missing after online site suspended



William, Serge Betsen and Fabrice at Heathrow




Serge Betsen Academy

International Success For Local Youth Rugby

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The family of two Acton teenagers on an epic charity cycle ride say thousands of pounds in donations are missing.

The boys, William Price, 14, and Fabrice Lavenir, 16, both play for Wasps, and, alongside lifelong friend Robert Guyut have been cycling 3150 km from Budapest to Moulin in France.

They're raising money for the French red cross and the Serge Betsen academy which uses rugby to help disadvantaged and underprivileged children in Cameroon.

Around three thousand pounds has been raised, but at the weekend organisers heard the donation site 'Charity Giving' had been suspended for mismanagement of funds.

Michelle Russell, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission said:

“We have taken this action because of serious concerns about the trustees’ management of the fundraising portal and the charity’s financial situation.  We recognise this will cause concern among the donors and fundraisers who have collected money for the charity through the site and for the charities who are expecting to receive those funds. 

''However it is now clear that the financial situation of the charity means there was no option but to suspend the online portal.  We know that the public will be concerned to ensure that donations made reach the charities for whom they were intended, and the interim manager will now undertake an urgent, detailed review of the charity’s finances to establish the extent of the shortfall and which charities and donors are affected.'' 

Investigations are on-going and money that has been raised so far isn't accessible - it's not clear when - or whether - it will be returned.

Fabrice's mother, Fiona Sutcliffe from Cumberland Park says the boys are currently in Germany and don't know what's happened.

'' We are shocked and devastated that the money given generously by friends and family is unlikely to be seen by the Serge Betsen Academy and the French Red Cross. 

''We have been working towards this for nearly a year,  and  hope that this experience will not discourage our teenage sons from wanting to help other young people less advantaged than themselves.

''We hope to make up the lost money through wider community support and also hope that this situation cannot be allowed to occur again, and have already contacted our local MP Angie Bray to ask if she can help in this matter.''

A new donation site has now been set up and family and friends are appealing for any support.

The group's expected back in London at the end of July.

16th July 2013

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