Mayor Palmer backs PTSD999 over summer ball, claims publicity ‘affected negatively’ those running it and says criticism was ‘in bad taste’

PUBLISHED: 17:12 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 14 March 2019

Mayor James Palmer (left) meets presenter Chris Mann ahead of their discussion on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire today.Mayor Palmer criticised media coverage of his summer fund raising ball.  Picture; BBC RADIO CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Mayor James Palmer (left) meets presenter Chris Mann ahead of their discussion on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire today.Mayor Palmer criticised media coverage of his summer fund raising ball. Picture; BBC RADIO CAMBRIDGESHIRE

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Mayor James Palmer today hit back at critics of his fund raising summer ball and claimed that bad publicity following the event “affected negatively” those running the organisation that benefited from it.

He insisted that PTSD999 Ltd – a Cambridgeshire based company set up to support emergency service workers with post traumatic stress disorder – was a legitimate organisation.

“I’m very proud of raising £11,000 for the organisation and I hope they go from strength to strength – and I’m sure that they will,” he told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Asked by presenter Chris Mann if criticism got him down he answered: “The stuff with PTSD I think was in bad taste and affected negatively the people who are running that organisation.”

Mayor Palmer said: “The organisation is a charitable organisation –legally, you are allowed to call it a charity because it’s a charitable organisation”.

He said that when you set up a charity the route chosen by PTSD999 is the direction that the Government “asks you to go down. The whole Mayor’s Ball thing I found the most difficult to deal with because we did something in extraordinarily good faith.

“We raised £11,000 for PTSD999 who do exceptional work helping people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder who work in the emergency services.

“And yet this became a political issue; and I suppose that’s one of the sadness’s of modern politics – that people are prepared to attack even when you’re raising money for an extraordinarily good cause.”

He told Chris Mann: “There have been times in the local press where my father has been attacked and I think that’s utterly abhorrent – and that depresses me, I have to say.

“I put myself in the position of being the mayor and with that comes the opportunity to be knocked down. If I’m attacked for things I’m doing politically that’s entirely fair.”

Pre publicity by Mayor Palmer promoted PTSD999 as a charity when in fact it was a limited company with a background of companies run by some of the same people having been set up and dissolved.

Police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite was at one time listed as a patron and Lord Balfe of Dulwich – a former MEP – was contacted by this newspaper about his support for PTSD999 and said he was surprised to hear he was its president.

“I thought I was just a patron,” he said. “I have not heard anything from them for at least a year.”

He resigned the same day.

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