A cancer charity boss has been ordered to repay £117,000 after using donations for a project to build a giant dragon statue in Wales.
Simon Wingett invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in plans for a 60m high Wrexham landmark which he hoped would rival the Angel of the North.
His foundation, Frank Wingett Cancer Relief, ran a shop at a local hospital but had not made a single charitable donation for seven years when it closed in 2018.
It was set up by his father who had throat cancer and used donations to buy equipment and resources for cancer patients in and around Wrexham.
The Charity Commission said it was being investigated after its funds were “misused” to support the creation of a “Welsh dragon statue as a tourist attraction”.
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“This project has no connection to furthering the charity’s aims and to date no statue has been built,” it added.
Accounts showed Mr Wingett had invested £410,000 of charity earnings over seven years into the project to build the dragon sculpture near the A5 in Chirk, Wrexham.
Sir. Wingett, who is also an art dealer, has long argued that the huge bronze dragon would become a tourist attraction to rival well-known landmarks.
It had planning permission to be built on a former mine site.
Following an investigation by the Charity Commission, which started in 2017, Mr Wingett was banned from acting as a trustee of any charity for 10 years.
He has now been ordered by the High Court of Justice to pay more than £117,000, which will be distributed to local charities supporting the emergency care of cancer patients being treated in Wrexham.
Tracy Howarth of the Charity Commission said: “Charity representatives hold important positions of trust. We – and the public – expect trustees to ensure that financial decisions are made in the best interests of the charity and those it serves to benefit.”
“Mr Wingett’s significant misuse of funds was an abuse of the trust placed in him by the many donors to the charity.
She added: “This decision will ensure that the charitable income raised is now directed to the benefit of those in the local community for which it was intended.”
His charity ran a shop at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in North Wales until 2018.
Its last payment to a hospital was to Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in 2011 and was made for £4,500.
Additional reporting from the Press Association