William Riley
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BY SPECIAL DELIVERY NO LESS

I have no qualms in stating that I was the most vocal when objecting to the actions of certain trustees. When I received an official invitation to the William Riley's unveiling I felt we had begun to move on, that the trust and I could carry on doing our own thing without creating any unwanted friction. The weather was atrocious and having broken my foot the pot was annoying, nonetheless I managed to capture a good selection of photographs. I submit images to our local newspaper on a variety of topics, the William Riley being one, I thought it quite nice when one of my photographs made the front page. I had no idea that behind the scenes things were spoiling again and that trouble was just around the corner

This time though it came in the form of a letter via Royal Mail's special delivery system. The letter was from from the contractor "Magnay & Yates", the one responsible for completing the decking. I have added it here to give some idea of the ferocity I continue to endure.

Phone 01434 321925

Unit K1

Hadrian Enterprise Park

HALTWHISTLE

Northumberland

NE49 0EX

16.06.2008

Dear Mr. Britten

It was with considerable sadness that I read your recent submission to your website. It would be too easy for anyone to assume that you are as bitter as you are incorrect in some of your reporting, allow me to fill in some of the obvious gaps in your understanding.

Mr. Charlton is a very good friend of mine, in fact I was with him when he discovered William Riley on the internet, and still in his company when he finalized the purchase. I was involved in the initial conversations that were to result in the first meeting in Whitby and like you; both my wife and myself were founder members. Just like Mr. Charlton and Ms Shrives. My wife my business partner and I did a considerable amount of volunteering on the project both at home and in Whitby before there was any talk of paid contracts. We are all lifeboat enthusiasts also involved in the rescue and return to Newbiggin of the Mary Joicey and active RNLI fundraisers. When it became clear to trust members that to complete William Riley in a realistic time scale would require machinery and facilities that were not available at Cross Butts, I was asked to use Magnay & Yates experience to give an estimate and specification as to what the trust might need to pay for a skilled professional re-build.

The only way I could do this was to price the job, and then tell the trust the conclusion. When we heard sometime later that the replacement interior was to be put out to tender, My partner and I naturally submitted our bid as this is exactly the type of specialist restoration project that is Magnay & Yates Ltd. Unfortunately anyone reading your writings could interpret your words as an implication of some sort of insider dealing particularly on the parts of Magnay & Yates Ltd. and Mr. Charlton which is NOT the case. We won this contract by submitting the best value tender as we have done to the audited satisfaction of both the HLF and Charity Commissioners. We have tendered for, and won best value restoration and new build for a number of other registered charities and restoration projects around the country. I inform you that Mr. Charlton’s connection with M&Y is that he is our honorary (i. e. volunteer and unpaid) company and financial secretary. All decisions are made by the two of us, Mr. Charlton plays no part in the day to day or the strategic management.

The wording on your website could affect our company and personal reputations resulting in the possible loss of future contracts we have been advised that this will give Magnay & Yates a strong case against you for loss of earnings.

WE STRONGLY ADVISE YOU TO REWORD YOUR ARTICLE AND POST AND MAINTAIN AN APOLOGY FOR ANY POSSIBLE IMPLICATION OF UNFAIR OR INCORRECT PRACTICE ON THE PART OF MAGNAY & YATES OR WHITBY HISTORIC LIFEBOAT TRUST AND ITS TRUSTEES AND MEMBERS. SHOULD YOU FAIL TO DO SO TO OUR SATISFACTIONWITHIN SEVEN DAYS WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO PERSUE THIS MATTER UP TO AND INCLUDING LEGAL ACTION.

Further points.

There were two reasons that William Riley stayed in Haltwhistle longer than ESTIMATED one was the appalling wet and dangerously windy weather the other was the extra uncontracted work that Peter Magnay and I carried out as volunteers (UNPAID) and not forgetting the Christmas break.

I am also curious as to how you have assessed the standard of M&Y workmanship and skills, at the point in trust meetings when this was discussed. And what previous work of Magnay & Yates Ltd. Had you seen to enable you to be an expert.

As an author you of all people should be aware that reporters and editors can and do alter wording of press releases to suit themselves. The article in the Hexham Courant was somehow concocted out out of the standard press release. We are fully aware that the john Fielden was the first Lifeboat on scene, WE have never claimed otherwise PLEASE CORRECT THIS, and fillets are is anybody’s guess.

Finally, it is a real pity that your website pays such great attention to petty political games and so little to helping promote the tremendous future fundraising potential of the historic lifeboat for hopefully many different charities and lifesaving organisations around the country over the decades to come, The very reason that MOST of us embarked on the project in the first place.

Yours Sincerely

Ian Yates

Director

P. S. Does the clear fact that out of all the people involved in this commendable project, You are the only one to imagine all these non existent plots and schemes That everyone else is delighted with both the organisation and final result, not tell you anything. And even if you do believe the rubbish you write you are severely damaging the very project you claim to support whilst making a bitter fool of yourself.

No part or extracts of this letter are to be published on your web site or any other media. However if you wish to publish the full and un–unaltered text feel free to do so with suitable acknowledgement.

It would be remiss of me to have simply let the letter go unanswered, more so since the threat of legal action was implied within seven days, I therefore duly replied adding the contents of my reply here and accessible using the link in the text below.

A Timely Response