It is with regret that I have to report that the Officers of the Queen’s Regimental Association (QRA) and the Trustees of the Queen’s Regiment Memorial Woodland (QRMW) have failed to reach an agreement upon how the activities of the QMRW should be regulated in accordance with Charity Commission guidance. The Queen’s Regimental Association is registered with its own charity number.
Through my membership of the Trustees of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment Benevolent Fund as representative of the Queen’s Regiment, QRA exercises the delegated authority to fundraise and disburse benevolence to entitled beneficiaries of the Association. This is the legally correct position.
While QMRW was very laudably establishing itself (and was given Branch status of the QRA) and using the name of the Queen’s Regiment in its title, I was content that it should act under the umbrella of the Association’s charity number, which, by implication, restricted its activity to Queen’s Regimental benevolence.
However, the trustees of the QMRW have confirmed that they do not wish to be constricted to Queen’s Regiment benevolence only and have unilaterally extended their charitable objectives to include former members of the Army generally and members of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Funds being contributed ostensibly to a trust in the name of the Queen’s Regiment are to be distributed to not only former members of other Regiments in the Army but also to former members of the other two Services - in the name of the Queen’s Regiment. This is obviously beyond the purposes of the QRA and the PWRR Benevolent Fund.
QRMW also arbitrarily disburses grants to an unspecified ceiling without the validation – either in advance or retrospectively – of service charity caseworker input. This is unacceptable to QRA, as it is outside the authority currently delegated to QRMW.
I therefore have had to insist on the removal of the words ”Queen’s Regiment” from the title, the inclusion of which clearly suggests that the QRMW fundraises solely on behalf of former members of the Queen’s Regiment. This is, unfortunately, manifestly misleading.
My concern is the possible exposure of QRA to representational and reputational vulnerability by activity over which it neither has oversight nor upon which it can apply regulatory limitations. I am also persuaded by my opinion that larger service charities are better placed and amply funded to meet the demands of the tri-service community.
QRA notes QRMW’s intention and aspiration to operate under its own charity number and its wish to fundraise and disburse benevolence autonomously more widely than is constrained by the implication of its current title. It has, therefore, been suggested to QRMW that it should seek a new title reflecting more accurately its aims and objectives. Given that evidence of the Queen’s Regiment pervades the memorial woodland and that the woodland site was created specifically in memory of the Queen’s Regiment, QRA would have no objection to the following being included in the new title of the QRMW’s charitable trust:
‘(Founded in memory of The Queen’s Regiment)’.
I announce hereby that QMRW will cease to be a ’Branch’ of the QRA with effect from the 2017 AGM: the memorial woodland has been invited, under its new title, to assume Associated Branch membership and it is very much hoped that this will be accepted.
It is emphasised that benevolence for members and dependents of the QRA remains available through the QRA and it is hoped that there will be referral as relevant through the newly established woodland under its new guise.
It remains to be said that the intentions and objects of the QRMW are admirable and it is matter of regret that they are not able to deliver benevolence to members of all three services in the revered name of the Queen’s Regiment, of which they and we are all very rightly proud. The trustees of the QRMW are individually, and will continue to be, members of the QRA family and very welcome they are.
President and Chairman
The Queen’s Regimental Association 4 March 2017