Downing Street urges JustGiving to 'reflect' over Col Tom Moore fundraising cash

Downing Street has signalled that online donation website JustGiving should consider cutting the contributions it has taken from Colonel Tom Moore’s NHS fundraising effort.

The Sun reported today that JustGiving has made £308,000 from Yorkshire native Col Tom's fundraising effort for the NHS, where the veteran raised £32.7m by walking around his garden.

The charges were levied on GiftAid donations - where UK taxpayers can contribute an extra 25 per cent - not the full amount, and a spokesman for the platform said any charity could opt out.

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Colnel Tom Moore. Photo: PA

The company also previously pledged a donation of £100,000 to Tom's campaign.

But they have today come under pressure to hand back some of the cash.

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said today Col Tom had raised an “incredible amount of money” and many members of the public and businesses had shown “extraordinary gestures”.

He said: “I’m sure that JustGiving will want to do the same where they possibly can.

“I understand that JustGiving’s owners have made a £100,000 donation to Captain Tom already and I’m sure they will be reflecting on the Sun’s story today.”

In March last year, JustGiving removed its five per cent platform fee in the UK. Instead, donors are asked if they would like to make a voluntary contribution to JustGiving in addition to their donation, which they must choose to opt out of if they don’t want to pay.

There are, however, processing fees for transactions made by card or PayPal.

A spokesman for JustGiving said: “Our Gift Aid service is not mandatory and any charity can opt out.

“Claiming back Gift Aid is complex, time consuming and expensive for charities and requires significant technological capabilities to do it at scale.

“Our expertise and technology means we are able to offer a much cheaper, quicker and more effective way for charities to claim Gift Aid than anyone else.”

It comes as Col Tom today said Victory in Europe Day is a “very special” occasion.

Col Tom was just 20 when he was conscripted in 1940. He joined the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and was posted to India the next year, later moving to the jungles of Burma.

He had just returned from Asia and was at an army camp in Bovington, Dorset, when news of Nazi Germany’s surrender came through.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “It’s a very special day that is celebrating the end of a very fearsome war in Europe.

“But today it really is a very fine day, the sun is shining on us too, so I think we all need to be very happy that the war in Europe did come to an end.

“It was a very important day and everyone concerned was absolutely very pleased that this was the end … the bombing of London, the bombing of other cities … had come to an end.

“It was a very, very happy day.”

But despite the war ending in Europe, Col Tom has bittersweet memories of VE Day, having returned to the UK to work as a tank instructor while his friends were still fighting in Asia.

It was another three months until Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945.

He went on: “At the time I was very concerned that all my comrades I had left in Burma were still fighting.

“My thoughts were with them because although there were great celebrations here all my comrades were still fighting in Burma with the Japanese.”

Col Tom previously said he would be celebrating by having a “very peaceful, quiet day, rejoicing the very fact that this did happen so long ago and with so much benefit to everybody”.

The veteran, who was made an honorary colonel to mark his centenary and fundraising efforts, added that it is “rather sad” that people will not be able to celebrate the occasion in groups together because of the coronavirus lockdown.

His daughter Hannah added: “We are incredibly proud of him, it has been a whirlwind, we still pinch ourselves.

“We try to do the very best we can to return the huge generosity and love back to the British public and beyond.

“Today we will just continue to do what we’ve been doing, which is respect social distancing and have quiet celebrations here thinking of all those people who died to let us all be free.”

Col Tom has recounted his wartime memories in an ITV documentary airing at 8pm on VE Day, called Captain Tom’s War.

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