Great Ormond Street Hospital charity to keep Presidents Club cash

Image source, John Stillwell/PA

The Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity has said it will keep £530,000 in donations from the organiser of a scandal-hit dinner.

The London hospital's fundraising arm said it had reversed a decision to return the money collected from the Presidents Club Charitable Trust.

It follows an outcry about a Presidents Club men-only event, at which hostesses were allegedly groped.

The charity said it had partly based the decision on donor feedback.

Non-disclosure agreements

A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity said: "Our thinking is always guided by our aim to maximise the support we give to the hospital and the families it cares for.

"Following feedback from our supporters, guidance from the Charity Commission and taking into account the impending closure of the Presidents Club Charitable Trust, the trustees have decided to retain the funds donated by the trust.

"We would like to thank all of our donors for their support, it is only through their generosity that we can make a difference for seriously ill children cared for at the hospital."

Image source, Tolga Akmen/FT
Image caption, Hostesses were allegedly groped at the Presidents Club dinner, held at London's upmarket Dorchester Hotel

The Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity (Gosh) said the Presidents Club's decision to close had also made it difficult to return the money, which had been collected between 2009 and 2016.

The dinner, held at the Dorchester Hotel in London in January, was attended by senior figures in business and finance.

According to Madison Marriage, a Financial Times reporter who worked undercover at the event, she and "numerous other" hostesses were groped on the night.

Hostesses were also told to wear skimpy black outfits with matching underwear, and asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement about the event upon arrival at the hotel.

The FT's report sparked an outcry and led Presidents Club chairman David Meller - who helped to organise the dinner - to quit his non-executive role on the Department for Education board.

Education minister Nadhim Zahawi was also reprimanded after he said he had attended the dinner but left early.

In a statement at the time, Gosh said it was shocked by the behaviour reported and would "never knowingly accept donations raised in this way".

Guy's and St Thomas' Charity, the charity for Evelina London Children's Hospital, has previously said it would keep £365,000 in donations from the trust.

However, the Royal Academy of Music has promised to return a £10,000 donation.

The Presidents Club dinner had been held annually for more than 30 years and raised £20m for children's charities.

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