Kiltwalk charity chief executive steps down

Participants in last year's Kiltwalk leave Murrayfield Stadium en route to Cramond. Picture: Greg Macvean

Participants in last year's Kiltwalk leave Murrayfield Stadium en route to Cramond. Picture: Greg Macvean

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THE founder and chief executive of the Kiltwalk charity event has left the organisation.

It comes after a number of charities withdrew as official partners amid concerns about the amount of money they had received.

Carey McEvoy will leave his post as part of a restructure, with other jobs at the charity also under threat.

He said he was “hugely disappointed” but wanted to “fully restore confidence” in the Kiltwalk event.

The Kiltwalk was set up in 2011 with the aim of bringing Scotland’s leading children’s charities together for a series of sponsored walks.

It grew from 800 walkers that year to more than 12,000 across the country in 2014.

Last month it emerged that four charities – CLIC Sargent, Cash for Kids, Aberlour and Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Friends Foundation – had withdrawn as official partners.

CLIC Sargent and Aberlour indicated that they had concerns over the amount of money reaching them from the Kiltwalk.

The most recent set of accounts for the Kiltwalk showed that from an income of just over £1.6m, £780,000 had been spent on running costs – more than the £776,000 which went to charity.

A statement released by Kiltwalk yesterday said the last few weeks had been “incredibly difficult”.

It said it had carried out a review of expenditure and as part of that Mr McEvoy would be “departing from the organisation”.

It went on: “Carey is very proud of what the charity has achieved but feels that the time is right for a change to be made and for him to step aside to enable the charity to move forward into the future.”

Mr McEvoy added: “The last month has been very difficult for the whole team, with four charities withdrawing as partners followed by several stories in the press which is having a big impact on our 2015 events.

“However, the charities leaving and the resulting media coverage has happened on my watch.

“We need to fully restore confidence amongst fellow charities, partners and walkers and I believe fresh leadership of The Kiltwalk can help to achieve that aim.”

A spokeswoman for the Aberlour charity said: “We have always had nothing but admiration and respect for the thousands of people who pull on their kilt and walking boots every year to walk for Scotland’s children.

“We do appreciate that the charity has had to take a number of very hard decisions in the last month, but we wholeheartedly support their efforts to be more transparent in their operation.”

She added: “We wish the Kiltwalk all the very best for the future and are continuing to ask our supporters to nominate us and walk in all the forthcoming Kiltwalks this year.

“It is our hope that with renewed leadership it will continue to provide a unique and popular platform for supporters to raise vital funds for children’s causes across Scotland.”

Following the financial revelations earlier this month, the former chairman of the Tartan Army Children’s Charity, the organisation behind the original idea which recently announced it was scrapping its involvement with Kiltwalk, spoke out.

Ally Hunter said: “I’d like the charity regulators to look into why so little money is going to good causes and I’ve asked them to investigate.

“Charities I am involved in agonise over a £100 black hole whereas Kiltwalk seem to be spending close to half their income on running the thing. “

He added: “Kiltwalk was our main asset for fundraising but because we are all volunteers we felt we couldn’t give it the time it required to make it better.”

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