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Hunt for answers after police drop probe into lost donations

POLICE have dropped an inquiry into the whereabouts of money raised for good causes at children's beauty pageants without contacting a single charity.

Clockwise from woman in red, far left: Yvonne Hay, Marion McVey, Lizzie Murphy, Angelina Hay, Danikka Stewart.
Clockwise from woman in red, far left: Yvonne Hay, Marion McVey, Lizzie Murphy, Angelina Hay, Danikka Stewart.

Parents raised the alarm in January after becoming suspicious that cash they donated at events organised by Model Scotland appeared not to have been passed to the charities.

They now want to know why Police Scotland ended its five-week inquiry on February 27 concluding that "no criminality has been established".

Some mothers who said they wanted to give evidence complained that officers did not return their calls.

About 10 parents were interviewed, but say they have been given no answers.

None of the 11 charities that were to have received donations was contacted by police. Nor was Model Scotland.

Yvonne Hay, from Glasgow, helped raise £800 for charity when her daughter, Angelina, eight, took part in the Miss Little Scotland and Miss Mini Alba pageants last year.

She said: "I'm extremely disappointed. I gave the police the names of all the charities.

"They say the inquiry is complete, but we still don't know where our money ended up. None of the mums are getting any answers."

Children as young as three were asked to raise money for charity when they took part in pageants, with donations, in cash only, handed to organisers on competition day.

However, The Herald's own investigation uncovered a string of discrepancies.

Of the £6218.79 Model Scotland claims it donated to good causes between March and October last year, only £962 can be traced to charity, with nearly £600 paid directly by parents, not Model Scotland.

Beneficiaries included Yorkhill Children's Foundation, the NSPCC and the British Heart Foundation.

A further £370 the company claims it paid in cash to high street charity shops is impossible to verify.

Meanwhile, mystery surrounds the largest donation Model Scotland claims to have made.

A letter purporting to thank Model Scotland for its "generous donation" of £3850 carries the distinctive logo of US-based Motherless Child Foundation.

But co-founder Nanci Spurlock said the charity had not received any money and the letter was not its own.

Mrs Spurlock said she attempted to contact Police Scotland to help with the inquiry but was told to contact her local police in Kentucky.

The letter was also stamped with the charity number of an Essex-based company called Motherless Children of Africa Foundation, dissolved in 2008.

Angel Dairo, director of Model Scotland, has denied any wrongdoing and said the logo belongs to a Nigerian charity.

Model Scotland, which is relocating to East Kilbride, has yet to explain why a fashion show it organised in aid of Children with Cancer UK in November has so far failed to pass on any money to the London-based charity.

A spokeswoman for the cancer charity confirmed it has not received a penny from the event nor been contacted by police.

Marion McVey, from Glasgow, helped her daughter Danikka, 13, raise £915 for charity when she entered Miss Little Scotland last year.

Mrs McVey said: "The police didn't interview me at all. I phoned them three times and they did not return the calls.

"I just want to know where my money went."

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: "During this investigation, no information came to light from witnesses to suggest there was any criminality involved.

"If anyone has any further information on this case then we would urge them to come forward to police who will fully investigate it."

Model Scotland declined to comment yesterday.

Contextual targeting label: 
Charity

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