Former charity president in court on fraud charge

COURT CASE Paul Fisher is accused of fraud
COURT CASE Paul Fisher is accused of fraud

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THE former co-president of a cycle ride, which has raised more than £1m for charity, has been charged with allegedly siphoning off more than £30,000 from its funds.

Paul Fisher, 65, was the former treasurer of the Hayling Charity Cycle Ride and the chairman of the influential Hayling Island Residents’ Association, until last year.

The missing money came to light in the summer and is believed to have been spent on a credit card belonging to the charity.

Fisher, of Southleigh Grove, Hayling Island, appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court, yesterday.

He was charged with fraud by abuse of position as treasurer between September 2011 and July 2012. The figure involved is £31,003.

Hayling councillor Andy Lenaghan said the case has come as a shock to islanders.

He has taken part in the cycle ride nine times over the year.

Cllr Lenaghan said: ‘Paul has done a lot for the island in his role as chairman of the residents’ association.

‘He has also done a lot for charity through the cycle ride.’

Fisher was involved with the charity for 27 years, 20 of those as chairman.

Peter McQuade founded the charity in the 1980s.

He said the annual July ride will go ahead as normal, this year to Holland, and there are 120 places.

But he said he felt it would be inappropriate to comment on the case.

At the time the matter came to light, Mr McQuade said neither the charity’s operations or bank account had been impacted.

More than 500 good causes, including Cancer Research UK, Age Concern and The Rowans Hospice, have benefitted from the cycle ride.

The residents’ association said it would not be appropriate to make a comment to The News.

Fisher is due to appear back at the magistrates’ court on May 16 for a committal hearing.

To find out more about taking part in the charity cycle ride go to hayling-cycle-ride.org.uk.