Hero’s dad may pull plug on son’s charity centre

Bob Wright outside the centre. Picture: Greg Macvean
Bob Wright outside the centre. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A WAR hero’s dad is set to take legal action to strip a charity of his tragic son’s name following a dispute.

The Mark Wright Project was founded by Bob and Jem Wright to help war veterans after their paratrooper son died in Afghanistan in 2006.

Mark Wright died in Afghanistan in 2006. Picture: contributed

Mark Wright died in Afghanistan in 2006. Picture: contributed

Charity bosses have now confirmed that a name change is likely, but have vowed that volunteers and employees will continue their work supporting veterans.

Mr Wright, 67, who walked away from the organisation in December, is speaking to ­lawyers in a bid to speed up the process. His announcement follows the resignation of nine directors, some of whom had “serious” concerns over the way the Dalkeith-based charity is being run.

Mr Wright, of Hawks Crescent, said: “I have been talking to a solicitor. If it’s not going to be run right, we will just remove the name and pull the plug. I feel pretty sad as I have wasted a few years of my life trying to do good.”

Bill Brown, who stepped down as chairman in May, said the resignations had been sparked by a “dearth of information” from centre bosses.

He also claimed that their positions as directors became “untenable” because there were not enough of them to affect change from within.

Mr Brown added: “Bob and Jem resigned, and for me that’s the saddest thing.

“There is a project which uses their son’s name but lacks their values and the values that Mark displayed.

“It speaks volumes that the parents of the man in whose name this project has been established have no confidence in how it is being delivered.”

Financial chief Thomas Stott has also asked its bank to suspend the charity’s account over “serious concerns about the lack of financial controls”.

Corporal Wright was killed at the age of 27 after entering a minefield in an attempt to save the lives of other injured soldiers. He was awarded the George Cross, one of the highest awards in the UK for acts of gallantry.

Charity supporters have insisted that its work will go on, even under a new name.

Colonel Martin Gibson, executive chairman of the Veterans of Scotland, said “A change of name is not a change of purpose, and I believe the charity is on a firm footing to move forward.”

A spokeswoman for the Mark Wright Project insisted it was “business as usual” for the charity.

She said: “The current directors would like to assure the veterans’ community that the work of the project, supporting disadvantaged veterans, continues as normal.

“As recently as last week the project helped another veteran find work through our employability programme, bringing the total in the last 18 months to more than 45 in sustained employment.”

She added: “Whilst we foresee the likelihood of a name change in the near future, this will not affect our service delivery, which we hope to extend over the coming year.”

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator confirmed it is “aware of these concerns” and is in talks with the charity.

The project was also reported to the watchdog in 2011 amid accusations of bullying.