Kids 'n' Cancer UK repays donors after Ashya King received NHS treatment

The charity raised £50,000 for specialist treatment for the child, but the NHS later agreed to pay for it

Ashya King
Ashya King

The charity Kids ’n’ Cancer UK has repaid £360 to seven people who asked for money they donated to pay for cancer treatment for Ashya King last year to be returned, after the NHS agreed to pay for the specialist treatment.

After the refunds were made, the Charity Commission said it no longer had any concerns about the appeal for King launched by the charity, but a pre-existing case into the charity’s fundraising practices and financial controls was continuing.

The case of the five-year-old boy was the subject of international attention last summer after his parents were arrested for taking him from a hospital in Southampton and then to Spain to seek a proton therapy treatment that was not available on the NHS.

Kids ’n’ Cancer initially offered to pay for this treatment and raised £50,000 on a JustGiving page, but the NHS later agreed to pay for the treatment, which was taking place in Prague.

In October, the commission said it would be "requesting information from the trustees about how much was raised by the Ashya King appeal and how the funds will be used, because it appears that the funds are no longer needed to fund Ashya’s medical treatment".

The charity had been asked by the King family to give them the money for legal and other expenses, but declined to do so, saying it would fund treatment for other children instead.

King’s parents said in March that he was cancer-free.

June Hyman, co-founder of the charity and wife of its chief executive Mike Hyman, said it had paid back seven donations totalling £360 to individuals who had asked. "All those that asked for money, we’ve refunded it," she said.

"The thing that we’re a little bit peeved about is that the Charity Commission won’t send us a letter saying it is not investigating us over this so that we could publish it."

A spokeswoman for the commission had issued the charity’s trustees with advice and guidance about how to deal with the funds raised for King, and that the regulator was aware of the refunds. She said: "We have no further regulatory concerns about this matter.

"We have an existing case involving the charity’s fundraising practices and financial controls. These concerns were raised with us by members of the public and are separate to the historic issues concerning the Ashya King appeal. We are engaged with the charity and will be organising a visit to assess its financial controls and general governance."

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