The Charity Commission has launched an inquiry into The Captain Tom Foundation after identifying concerns about the charity’s management and independence from the late veteran’s family.
This has now escalated to an inquiry after the commission became concerned about arrangements between the charity and a company linked to Sir Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband Colin, as well as the trustees’ decision-making and how the charity is governed.
Sir Tom became a well-known figure after raising £38 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the height of the first national Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020.
The commission said the money raised for the NHS, which was donated to NHS Charities Together, is not part of the scope of its inquiry.
The Captain Tom Foundation was registered on June 5 2020 following his fundraising efforts.
What is being investigated at the charity?
In March 2022, the publication of the first annual accounts of the foundation showed the charity incurred £240,000 in costs and gave £160,000 to good causes.
The commission said it is concerned that a “failure to consider intellectual property and trademark issues” when the charity was set up gave a private company, called Club Nook Limited, the opportunity to trademark variations of the name “Captain Tom” without objection from the charity.
This could have generated “significant profit” for the company, which is controlled by Ms Ingram-Moore and Mr Ingram-Moore, the commission added.
The inquiry was officially launched on June 16 and is analysing if trustees of the foundation have complied with their responsibilities under charity law, as well as managed any conflicts of interest.
Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “The late Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired the nation with his courage, tenacity and concern for others. It is vital that public trust in charity is protected, and that people continue to feel confident in supporting good causes.
“We do not take any decision to open an inquiry lightly but in this case our concerns have mounted. We consider it in the public interest to examine them through a formal investigation, which gives us access to the full range of our protective and enforcement powers.”
Stephen Jones, chairman of the board of trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation, said: “We will, of course, work closely with the commission in its inquiry relating to intellectual property management.
“I note that the trustees confirmed with the commission during the process of registration that the ‘image rights and intellectual property rights of the name were held within a private family trust’, and the commission were aware that this was always intended to be the case."