I WRITE in response to a letter published in the Standard from Mr Mauhann in which he criticises the Mayflower Project, and particularly Tom Daly.

I currently chair the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre which is the rebranded Harwich Mayflower Project that Tom chaired for so many years.

It is a matter of public record that when I was appointed chair, because of “gossip” and suggestions of financial irregularities, I commissioned a retrospective audit of the Mayflower accounts; also appointed a new auditor and changed the accounting systems, managed by a new book-keeper.

Neither the retrospective audit nor an investigation by the charity commission revealed any wrong doing and the 2018 accounts, published on the company’s house website, were issued without any qualification or adverse comment from the auditors.

The 2019 accounts will be published shortly.

The retrospective audit did show that trustees, including Tom Daly, had contributed very significant sums to the charity.

All this information was available two years ago.

It is old news; we have moved on.

Regarding the community outcomes of the project, the ship may not have sailed out of Harwich as Tom and others planned but the “process” made a huge and positive difference to many people.

The goals have not changed, but have been adapted to take account current financial, community and business environment.

The charity continues to build on the legacy left by Tom and those who worked on the Mayflower Project; the restoration of the station and rail shed are tangible evidence of this.

For my part I am aware that we are building on the foundations of others, and over time, others will build on the work that the current trustees are now doing and that is how it should be.

Tom remains a president of the charity and we are privileged that he should be so.

The vision for a replica Mayflower remains in our business plan, though now a static exhibit and I look forward to Tom joining us on deck.

It is right and proper that people are held to account for what they do but it is sad that there are individuals in the community who seem to find pleasure in undermining the voluntary efforts of others striving to make the place we share better.

Tony Elliston

Chair, The Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre