Derby

Arrested Kids 'n' Cancer boss faces missing cash questions

Mike Hyman
Image caption Mike Hyman hosted many fundraising events and claimed never to have turned a family away

Concerns have been raised that a charity boss may not have accounted for thousands of pounds intended for children with cancer.

Kids 'n' Cancer's assets were frozen last month after Mike Hyman was arrested on suspicion of theft.

The BBC has learned of claims he made unexplained withdrawals of up to £5,000 and falsely took credit for funding the treatment of at least two children.

Mr Hyman denied wrongdoing and said he could not comment while on police bail.

Mike Hyman, 69, is founder, trustee and salaried CEO of the Chesterfield-based charity.

Image caption Alex Barnes's mother said his treatment was not funded by Kids 'n' Cancer

Since starting in 2010 it has raised more than £2m for proton therapy, a radiation treatment currently not available in the UK and only in some cases funded by the NHS.

But some transactions have caused concern.

Speaking to Inside Out, the charity's former bookkeeper, Bill Wilson, said a £5,000 withdrawal in 2014 particularly stuck out.

"There was no paperwork to support it, no receipts or anything and £5,000 is the limit of what the Kids 'n' Cancer debit card can take out of an ATM.

"I was told it was a cash grant to two ladies who did not have bank accounts".

Image caption The charity's former bookkeeper said several withdrawals had raised alarms

The women, Nadine Wilson and Ros Barnes from Leicestershire, who had bank accounts, were taking a child to the US for treatment but both denied ever having received that sum.

Ms Barnes is also the mother of Alex Barnes, who had successful proton treatment in 2008, and his case featured prominently in the charity's publicity.

She said: "I received zero money from Kids 'n' Cancer for Alex's treatment because it didn't exist then.

"I was originally happy for Alex to be the 'poster boy' for the charity because we believe in the treatment and we believed in the charity.

"But it was the people of the East Midlands that donated the money that saved my son."

Brandon Bell also features in Kids 'n' Cancer fundraising efforts but the £200,000 to send him to the US was also raised before the charity was set up.

Image caption The charity's offices are currently locked and empty

The BBC requested a list of the 13 children Mr Hyman claims to have fully funded for foreign proton therapy treatment. Kids 'n' Cancer has not provided this.

Mr Wilson has also told the BBC Mr Hyman took frequent charity-funded trips to the US and on one flight he spent £700 without providing receipts.

Accounts also show thousands spent on tickets to the Royal Variety performance, £2,750 in cash withdrawals during the summer of 2015 and a £800 cheque to Mrs June Hyman signed by the couple themselves.

A letter from the Charity Commission to Kids 'n' Cancer's solicitors dated September 2015 detailed concern about "inadequate financial controls which fail to protect the charity's assets".

In a statement via his solicitors Mr Hyman said: "Our client makes it clear that he denies any wrongdoing and will be able to make a full explanation in respect of all questions but not at this time due to the ongoing police investigation."

This story will be broadcast on Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshshire at 19:30 BST on 31 March.

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