Ireland Air Ambulance donors want £65,000 back

Couple upset because 90 per cent of donations in the charity's first year were spent on running costs

A couple who donated £65,000 to Ireland Air Ambulance have asked for their money back after discovering the charity spent 90 per cent of donations in its first year on running costs.

Peter and Helen Fearon, from County Armagh, raised the money in memory of their son and were disappointed it had not been spent on services, according to a report on the BBC's website. A spokesman told Third Sector that a representative of the charity has offered to meet the couple, but was unable to say whether the money will be refunded.

Dr Gwyn Beattie, clinical director at Ireland Air Ambulance, said: "The IAA has been contacting its stakeholders to underline its continued commitment to securing the service for the region and explaining that the high start-up costs involved in establishing a charity are not unusual.

"This was confirmed by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, which stated that ‘a charity may spend more on its set-up than it will do in later stages of its development and operation'," added Beattie.

The IAA has reduced the proportion of donations spent on running costs in the first three months of its second financial year to 68 per cent.

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