At the end of his Mayoral year, Cllr Paul Pegg told the Council Chamber on the 18th May 2016
“Thanks to an anonymous donation of £50,000, I have raised over £60,000″
The £50k was donated specifically (“that’s what the people made their cheques out to”) for the Spinal Unit and Orhpanage in Nepal which Pegg was associated with. Despite some questionable maths, he went on to tell the Council that, over and above the £50k, he had raised £6278.37 which was split 3 ways. One-third, £2092, was also to be donated to the same cause in Nepal making a total of £52092 raised by Pegg.
At the Council meeting on the 23rd November, Pegg asked the Mayor to read out an updated statement about his work in Nepal.
“As many of you will remember , I raised £56k for my charities, but the majority of that came from one, at the time, anonymous donation of £50,000….I have been given permission to tell you who that person was as she has become a very good friend of mine, and that is…..Miss Joanna Lumley”
The charity that Pegg is referring to is Neverest Orthopedics Foundation. The organisation was formed in 2013 by Professor Rohan Rajan, Michael Saunders, and James Mecalfe with the objective of teaching and performing Orthopedic surgery in Nepal. Professor Rajan is an eminent consultant surgeon at Royal Derby Hospital, as well as a professor at the University of Derby, and 3 time recipient of the Mayor of Derby award since 2013.
The actress, Joanna Lumley has a long history of supporting work in Nepal, and is involved with many charities and causes associated with that area, In January 2016 she was made honorary President of the charity; Pegg is the Patron. Professor Rajan recalls in May 2016:
“About two weeks ago I received a phone call out of the blue from a lady who said she wanted to make a small donation to the charity and asked me for the details so she could transfer some money over. She said she did not want her name to be made public which made me wonder how much money she would be donating, I had a really busy day at work on that day and it wasn’t until I got home and checked the charity’s bank account online and saw that she had given us £50,000”
On reflection it makes sense that someone of Joanna Lumley’s humanitarian standing would donate directly to a charity of which she is Honorary President.
It comes as no great surprise that Pegg claimed credit for having raised this money when, in actual fact, he was not involved in the transaction at all. It was reported as a spontaneous gesture by Ms Lumley direct to Professor Rajan; the money didn’t pass through the Mayoral books of account. ( It wasn’t even paid by cheque as Pegg suggested in his speech)
This photograph taken on 17 May 2016 testifies to the fact that Pegg only donated £2092 despite telling the Council chamber the day after that it was £52092.
Professor Rajan also reports on his LinkedIn page:
“Recently (26 March 2016) The Mayor through a fund raising dinner ( at the Derbyshire County Cricket Ground) has raised £2092 for the charity….”
I suspect that he didn’t tell Professor Rajan that he split the £6278 3 ways with 2 other charities.
Once again Pegg struggles to convey reality, and claims credit for other people’s actions to bolster his own ego and status in the community. It is truly cynical to hijack the altruistic generosity of Joanna Lumley for his own ends and imply that his personal efforts, and position as Mayor, were central to this money being donated. As an elected representative, he has been found wanting, and continues to ignore the fact that he should behave in a way that is beyond reproach when it comes to transparency and honesty.
The work of Professor Rajan, his fellow trustees, and the charity, seem to have excellent professional credentials and there is no suggestion that this is in anyway compromised by Pegg’s actions.
Categories: Derby City Council