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Controversial Wick charity stripped of £140,000 – now to be shared among worthy causes

Harmsworth Park, home of Wick Academy.
Harmsworth Park, home of Wick Academy.

A controversial Highland charity is to be stripped of its funding following a legal ruling.

Wick Academy Development Fund (WADF) has been the subject of a long-running probe from the charity regular OSCR.

Its bank account has been frozen since the Court of Sesion appointed judicial factor Eileen Blackburn last October

She yesterday revealed that the fund – thought to be about £140,000 – is to be disbursed among local organisations with similar objectives.

Saga dates back almost two decades

WADF was set up in March 2002 to provide “social, leisure and recreation facilities” in the area.

Spearheaded by Jacky Gunn, the former chairman of Wick Academy FC,  it raised funds until 2009 since when the cash has sat in the bank.

Mr Gunn has continued to insist that its development plans remain live.

Football fans felt duped

OSCR paved the way for the appointment of Ms Blackburn after concluding there was “no realistic prospect” of the charity trustees securing its objectives.

Many Academy fans had supported the cause in the belief the cash would eventually fund facilities that would benefit the Highland League club.

Ms Blackburn is now asking for local charities to apply to benefit from the WADF money.

She said: “I am now inviting any registered charities within the Wick community, whose charitable objectives are aligned to those of WADF to register their interest in receiving funding with me.

“As part of my remit as judicial factor, I will consider applications received.”

Interest has to be registered by Friday, May 21.

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