Rose society plans on hold after failure of fundraiser

British police contact US authorities over missing money promised by US charity fundraiser

The Royal National Rose Society (RNRS) has only received £12,000 of a promised £5 million from US charity fundraiser Bonnie Masterton. The Charity Commission believes Masterton collected more money but has not passed it on. British police have passed on evidence to US authorities to investigate. RNRS president Peter Beales said: “I don’t think anyone deliberately set about getting us into this muddle. Masterton deceived everyone in the society. We were misadventurous in terms of putting a plan together before money was available. “I don’t know whether there is any money. We’re trying to find out by legal means if there is some. If there is then we’re obliged as a charity to pursue it.” Wiltshire-based Balston & Co will be delayed in implementing its design of the new RNRS garden. The society is looking at four quotes from contractors and at grants and sponsorships. It will find out this month if it is eligible for them. Principal Michael Balston hopes the garden will be partly open this summer, while Beales said it will be fully open in spring 2006. Balston said that if the water features are sponsored, it will leave more money for plants. See www.charity-commission. gov.uk/investigations/inquiryreports/rose.asp

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