The founder of a countryside charity has claimed he is being ousted by a group of what he called “dreadful” trustees in a bitter dispute over the running of the charity.
Robin Page, founder of the Countryside Restoration Trust and a former presenter of BBC sheepdog trials programme One Man and His Dog, said on Twitter that he was being “sacked” from the charity he established in 1993 with one farm.
The charity, which has since grown to manage 18 properties around the UK, denied this was the case.
It said Page's role as executive chair was being concluded on legal advice, but he had been invited to continue as a trustee.
Page claimed he was being "bullied out" of the charity by a “group of greedy elderly men” who wanted to take the charity away from its members.
He said: “Can you believe it. After 27 years of giving most of my life to the Countryside Restoration Trust – I am being sacked by the CRT in April – a group of three or four dreadful trustees who have lost the plot and have let their expanded egos take over.”
The charity rejected the claims.
Page said he had also removed the legacy in his will he was going to leave the charity.
He alleged his dismissal letter came from vice-chair of the CRT, Nicholas Watts.
But in a statement on the charity’s website, Watts said: “I’d like to address the misunderstandings on social media about Robin Page’s position at the charity.
“There’s no question of him being ‘sacked’ or there being a ‘trustees’ takeover’. His role as executive chair has been concluded, on legal advice, to comply with Charity Commission rules and best practice governance.
“He not only remains a trustee but has been offered an exciting new role recognising his immense service to the charity and enabling him to continue building our membership networks and portfolio of 18 properties around the UK.
“We hope that this clarifies matters and emphatically puts the record straight.”
In a separate statement, the CRT’s trustees said they planned to meet Page today to discuss his future role, which they hoped “will be conciliatory and collaborative in context”.