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Framlingham: Mills Charity defends itself against accusations of secret dealings

PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 May 2014

Framlingham

Framlingham

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A charity has defended itself against accusations of secretive dealings raised during a public meeting.

The Framlingham-based Mills Charity came under fire at the town’s annual parish meeting on Wednesday.

Vic Stanbrook, a resident of the town, said it was “absolutely
ridiculous” that the charity had failed to file a report with the town council.

“This is a trust set up to serve the people of Framlingham, it’s got £7.4million in the bank and yet they cannot even be bothered to come to the annual town meeting to tell us what they do,” he said.

“We don’t know how what they spend their money on, how they make their appointments or what they do. It’s like a secret society – how do they get away with it?”

The charity was established
from the estate of the wealthy Framlingham businessman Thomas Mills to provide for the people of the town after his death in 1703.

Defending against the accusations, the Rev Michael Vipond, one of the charity’s trustees, said: “I would
not associate myself with something that was underhanded or disreputable”.

He said the charity was “bound by the rules that Thomas Mills put to us” and explained that not every request it received was of a suitable nature.

“We’ve got to ask ourselves, what would Thomas Mills actually say?” he said.

Other residents, however, felt the explanation was less than satisfactory.

“Surely the most charitable thing is to help the people of Framlingham – I’m sure that Thomas Mills would say the same,” said one resident.

Mr Stanbrook was also unconvinced. Although he said he had “no criticism of the trustees” he suggested the amounts spent by the charity were “piddling”.

The Mills Charity’s latest financial statement filed in January 2013 said it held assets of around £7.4m, generating £124,000 income over the year. From that total it made contributions of £16,685 and spent £28,841 on the almshouses it maintains.

Philip Hurst, headteacher at Thomas Mills High School, who was the guest speaker at the meeting, said the charity had also made substantial contributions towards facilities at the school after that financial year.

A new multi-use games area at the school was completed using £30,000 donated by the charity.

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The Orwell Bridge is expected to close for the third time this winter as high winds are forecast again on Wednesday night.

Essex Wildlife Trust has responded to reports that a black panther has been sighted in a rural village in the county.

Feeling safe on the streets, career prospects and retirement plans are among the top concerns for women in Suffolk and Essex, a survey reveals.

Proposals to build a new multi-million pound rail depot on the Suffolk/Essex border at Brantham near Manningtree are being reconsidered by Greater Anglia.

A mentally-ill Bury St Edmunds man accused of killing a 57-year-old man by stabbing him multiple times has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

A crash between a van and a car this morning has closed a rural Suffolk road.

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