Betty pours scorn on 'critics'

THE chief supervisor of a local man's charity events has rubbished claims that parents are concerned for the welfare of their children. The Somerset Mercury has received letters from residents claiming that Cross resident Chris Byrne has been paying teena

THE chief supervisor of a local man's charity events has rubbished claims that parents are concerned for the welfare of their children.The Somerset Mercury has received letters from residents claiming that Cross resident Chris Byrne has been paying teenagers too much to help marshal open days at his house, Wavering Down, the former household of comedian Frankie Howerd.Betty Nuttycombe, who has marshalled events at the house for four years said: "People have been writing to newspapers claiming Chris is paying teens too much money and that his accounts don't add up. It's all rubbish. The letters are also anonymous. If people are going to make claims like that, the least they can do is put a name and address to it. They say they are concerned parents. I think it is just people being mean."Chris has been opening up his home to the public for three years, but residents have raised concerns about the charities he donates to. In one letter to the Somerset Mercury, the author questioned £14,025 given to teenagers to help marshal the events. Joseph Taschimowitz, a 15 year old from Loxton who has helped at events, also wrote to the paper saying: "Mr Byrne pays us a set sum each day which is a small amount over minimum wage and only employs the amount of people the local authorities say he must."I am paid the same amount as the local pubs offer and I work on the published open days along with the other teenagers. Where is the fault in that?" Chris Byrne said: "There is a witch hunt on to bring me down, but I have nothing to hide. I'm a strong chap and all this will only make me stronger." Mr Byrne announced last week that he has decided not to hold any more events at the house after September. He added: "Concerned parents need not worry any more. There will be no more children's parties at the house and charities will lose out on thousands of pounds.


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