We want Garside and Colford out of Crusaders and Wrexham FC

Dylan Roberts
Dylan Roberts 2 Comments
339 SignaturesGoal: 500

We, the undersigned, petition the Board of Crusaders Rugby League and Wrexham Football Club to terminate with immediate effect the employment of Andrew Garside and Lisa Colford. Andrew Garside and Lisa Colford have a history of making money by using the names of charities dishonestly. Mr Garside & Ms Colford's company Chestnut House was exposed in 2008 by a Daily Mirror investigation. Chestnut House tele-marketed small and medium sized businesses offering branded charity wall-planners promoting the Honeyrose Foundation, a reputable charity. In return, The Honeyrose Foundation received 5% of profits as charitable donations. The Honeyrose Foundation is a Liverpool based charity for terminally ill adults of forty years and older. However, Chestnut House deliberately misled their customers into believing the Honeyrose Foundation assisted terminally ill children across the whole of the UK and Ireland. Furthermore, customers of Chestnut House were told "every single penny of that money helps the terminally ill" when in reality only 5% of the profits went to the Honeyrose Foundation. In addition, the founder of the Honeyrose Foundation, Lynn Duffy, alleges that her charity did not receive the full amount due from the 5% charitable donation to which the Honeyrose Foundation was entitled. At the time of the Mirror's exposé, out of £1.2 million donated, only £60,000 had gone to good causes. Lisa Colford had previous associations with similar companies. She had previously been secretary of 'shamed publisher' Barrington House, which made £3.5 million a year by claiming to raise money for children’s charities, yet just £100,000 went to good causes. From Barrington House, Lisa joined two firms, Hamilton Forbes and Price Chamberlain, both with proven links to the original Barrington House firm. Hamilton Forbes and Price Chamberlain made £3 million in less than a year, yet only £170,000 went to charity. All three companies were wound up in the High Court "in the public interest" following investigations by the DTI. Chestnut House went into receivership in February 2009 and has now been liquidated. Andrew Garside was made bankrupt in April 2009. Allegations later came to light, in relation to all of the above companies, concerning unethical and intimidatory methods of debt collection. Customers who either refused to pay after establishing the product had been sold under false pretenses, or who claimed they had never agreed to purchase in the first place, were allegedly subjected to threatening telephone calls and spurious legal letters demanding payment. Both Andrew Garside and Lisa Colford are now employed in positions of financial responsibility at Crusaders RL/Wrexham FC. Lisa Colford is employed as the financial controller and Andrew Garside as the commercial manager. Many long-standing and committed members of staff have been made redundant by the Board of Wrexham FC in recent times, yet the club has in this time hired two individuals with a history of dishonesty and financial incompetence. It is wholly unacceptable to supporters of both Crusaders and Wrexham FC that both clubs continue to employ Andrew Garside and Lisa Colford. Many supporters have chosen to boycott merchandise and matches due to this. Despite the concerns of their customers, the Board of Crusaders and Wrexham FC initially refused to comment for nine days, and has since come out in full support of Garside and Colford. The Board is yet to fully address the supporters' concerns. The Board of Crusaders and Wrexham FC meets on February 17th to further discuss the matter. It is our hope that the Board will review their decision and respond appropriately. We are understandably concerned that Crusaders and Wrexham FC, at a time of evident cost-cutting - which has cost the jobs of many popular and long-standing members of staff - continues to employ individuals with a proven history of dishonesty and unethical business practices in positions of financial responsibility, including responsibility for ticketing. We feel that community sporting clubs have a responsibility to their loyal supporters and to the communities from which they draw their support. It is our belief that such community institutions have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of their supporters and their communities, and to pursue an ethical employment policy. We, the undersigned, petition the Board of Crusaders Rugby League and Wrexham Football Club to terminate with immediate effect the employment of Andrew Garside and Lisa Colford.

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The Supporters

Links

Red Passion - the supporters' forum for Wrexham FC & Crusaders which broke this story:

http://www.redpassion.co.uk/

The original Mirror article:

http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2008/10/these-two-give-just-five-per-c.html

A subsequent Mirror article:

http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2009/01/charity-parasites-of-the-year.html

The Blagger site provides lots of useful information on Chestnut House:

http://www.blagger.com/db4/company_id/7055/companyname/Chestnut-House.html

The Facebook group of the campaign:

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=445592845511
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