Row erupts after JK Rowling quits MS role

April 21st, 2009 - 2:04 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 21 (ANI): Soon after JK Rowling gave up her role as a patron of Scotland’s biggest MS (Multiple Sclerosis) charity, a feud has erupted between the British and Scottish chiefs of the organisation.

The MS Society’s UK bosses are complaining that the body is failing to raise enough money or spend enough on research north of the Border.

In a letter to its 3,500 members in Scotland, the UK charity’s director and chief executive said that “more can be done” to make full use of MS Society money in Scotland to help the 10,000 people who are suffering from the disease north of the Border.

Also, they claimed to have sought talks with Rowling to explain the internal wrangle that led the Harry Potter author to quit her job.

Earlier this month, the Edinburgh-based writer, who has helped to raise millions of pounds for multiple sclerosis sufferers, left her position as the charity’s patron for Scotland.

Last autumn, a massive row between MS Society’s board of trustees and the council charged with running affairs in Scotland had erupted when the latter body’s powers were suspended.

At that time, claims were made that certain individuals were undermining the charity’s work north of the Border.

Although Rowling personally tried to resolve the problem by paying for mediation between the charity’s leaders in London and Scotland, the board formally removed the council’s powers last week.

And since then, there has been an upsurge in calls for the charity in Scotland to break away from the UK body.

Members of the Scotland charity received a letter yesterday, in which, Tony Keenan, MS Society chairman, and Simon Gillespie, chief executive, said they were “extremely sorry” that Rowling had decided to step down.

“Since her resignation we have again asked her if we can meet her so she can hear at first hand the MS Society’s account of what has been going on in Scotland,” The Scotsman quoted the letter as saying.

It added: “We believe there is significant scope to improve on the 2.6 million pounds raised in Scotland to fully fund the MS Society’s work.”

But Denise Fagg, who chaired MS Society Scotland until last November and who is singled out in the letter, last night angrily rejected the criticisms.

She said: “The society in Scotland has won awards for its fundraising events and a small four-person team raises more than 2.5 million pounds each year. This is almost certainly more raised per fundraiser than south of the Border.” (ANI)

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