18 May 2016

St John Ambulance in High Peak

The following has been received from a High Peak Transparency contributor as a comment, but its content deserves to be more widely known so here it is on its own stand-alone page:

'New Mills St John Ambulance group are disbanding, it would be interesting to understand who owns their assets and also what has happened to the financial contribution from NMTC bonfire fund earlier this year.
Given that the group haven't covered any events recently I think they should pay the money back.
Hopefully they publish accounts and everyone can see where all their donations go, or perhaps that is why they are disbanding.'

This is not unconnected with the ownership of the caravan that New Mills Town Council ratepayers' money, unknown to the town councillors at the relevant time, was used to pay insurance on.

02 May 2016

High Peak Conservatives ex-Chairman Charged With Theft From War Veterans' Charity

The great New Mills poppies overstock, discovered in New Mills town hall in January 2014

Jeffrey Peter Lawton, a local organiser and collector for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, has been arrested and charged in connection with more than £3,000 missing from the collections being made on behalf of the war widows and military veterans.

We understand he has been bailed to Derby Crown Court.

Mr Lawton's name has recently suddenly disappeared from High Peak Conservatives Association website, where he was Chairman of the Association.

Mr Lawton put himself forward as Conservative Party candidate in the 2015 New Mills local elections, and organised the party's candidates and campaign in the town.

Mr Lawton was the formal proposer to the Electoral Returning Officer for fellow Conservative Party election nominees John Ferns, Kath Garside, Josh Gaskell and Alistair Stevens.

HPT understands that, at the Magistrates Court, the sitting magistrate and Mr Lawton knew each other. The case was transferred to Crown Court at Derby.

One fact about Crown Court -  rather than magistrates court - is that only the Crown Court can impose significant custodial sentences, where particular crimes warrant it.

Presumably, stealing from funds intended for bereaved widows and wounded veterans - which is what the Poppy campaign is for - would be regarded as extremely serious by the UK's national media as well as by the Judge.


Editor's note:  In view of the seriousness of what has happened here, incoming comments on this matter will be carefully scrutinised before the decision is made whether to publish them.  As usual, a comment made by a person giving their real name is much more likely to be published than just 'Anon'.