Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

World-beating Aberdeen cyclist ‘vindicated’ after ‘hate campaign’ led to charity probe

Dean Stott set two world records on his journey along the Pan American Highway, from Argentina to Alaska.
Dean Stott set two world records on his journey along the Pan American Highway, from Argentina to Alaska.

A former special forces soldier, who raised hundreds of thousands of pounds with his Aberdeen-based charity, claims he has been “vindicated” by a watchdog after complaints about his expenses.

Dean Stott, then 41, became the fastest man to cycle the length of the Pan American Highway in 2018 in aid of mental health causes.

Along the way, the ex Special Boat Service trooper – whose profile was raised through his friendship with Prince Harry – also became the quickest to cycle the 6,000-mile length of South America.

‘Horrendous’ strain for Aberdeen family behind million-pound fundraiser

But the Aberdonian’s incredible feats were soon mired, as charity regulator OSCR opened an investigation into his charity PAH (Scotland) over complaints about his expenses.

Now cleared of “deliberate” wrongdoing, his wife Alana has spoken out about the “horrendous pressure” placed on their Peterculter-based family during the year-long investigation.

Complaints emerged after a fall out with Mr Stott’s crew, leading to accusations he had toted up £400,000 in expenses during the bike ride from Argentina to Alaska.

They also alleged he had been cutting corners to ensure he made it back home in time for the wedding of the prince – who he met in 2007 during military training – and Meghan Markle.

Dean Stott with Prince Harry at Kensington Palace in May 2018, ahead of the Aberdeen-born former SBS trooper's record-breaking cycle
Dean Stott with Prince Harry at Kensington Palace in May 2018, ahead of the Aberdeen-born former SBS trooper’s record-breaking cycle.

Having taken more than a year to look into the complaints, OSCR identified “weaknesses in the governance and stewardship of charity’s assets”, though added they “do not appear to have been deliberate”.

The Stotts have always maintained all money raised would go to charity, and that Mr Stott’s cycling would be paid for through sponsorship.

PAH (Scotland) has since been renamed Breaking Chains Global.

Regulator identified ‘weaknesses’ at charity

Investigators said their probe was necessary in order to “protect public trust and confidence in charities” – especially because Mr Stott’s exploits had attracted “significant media attention due to links to high profile individuals and substantial money raised”.

The regulator’s report said trustees needed to “better understand”:

  • the need for strong, well documented, and transparent decision making
  • the need for robust planning of significant events
  • the need for exercising strong financial management
  • the need to consider the reputation of the charity, particularly where there are links to high profile individuals and events.

Having donated £500,000 to princes Harry and William’s Heads Together mental health charity, the newly rebranded Breaking Chains has taken on fundraising to end human trafficking – a particular interest of Mrs Stott, who highlighted victims’ plight when she was crowned Mrs Aberdeen.

‘Hate campaign’ hit Peterculter family due to royal links

But, speaking to press accountability campaigners Hacked Off, she also highlighted the suffering her family endured.

Dean and Alana Stott at their Peterculter home with their children, Mollie and Tommy.

The mother-of-two said: “The pressure was horrendous and my mental health suffered.

“An eating disorder from the past resurfaced, I couldn’t sleep and I was being treated for depression.

“Worse still, Dean and I argued on a regular basis. We were both in so much pain and we didn’t know how to resolve it.

“Everything depended on the OSCR. We waited 18 months.

“Not one allegation of financial misconduct was upheld and we were actually praised for raising so much money as a new charity.

“The only qualification in the verdict was that we were given new management guidelines to help us in the future.”

Mr Stott refused to comment for The Press And Journal and Evening Express, instead directing us to Mrs Stott’s article.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]