Red faces all round at a small-circulation newspaper based in Guildford, after they ran a story about Prince Harry planning to attend a charity dinner at Croydon Town Hall last night.
Problem is, the charity doesn’t exist.
And there was never a booking for a dinner with the council.
And there was nothing in the royal diary for the prince to visit Croydon.
But they did have a picture of the “charity organiser” together with another chancer who eventually got found out…
The bogus royal banquet was exposed online yesterday by the “Croydon” Sadvertiser, under the headline: “Rumoured royal visit of Prince Harry to Croydon may have been totally made-up”.
Thing is, it had been the self-same Sadvertiser website which just the day before had been publishing the rumours of that self-same “royal visit”.
The Sadvertiser reverse ferret failed to mention that it had published the false report in the first place. And there’s no apology for the error, either.
The Sadvertiser (average sales each week in 2017: 6,203) posted the clickbait story on its website just after 6pm on Friday: “Prince Harry is visiting Croydon this weekend – this is what he’s going to be up to”.
To compound their embarrassing misleading false report, it was still live on the Sadvertiser’s own website by 10am on Sunday.
How it ever got to be on the site in the first place without the reporter, the sub-editor or news editor smelling multiple rats remains unexplained.
The original report about the royal visit included much detailed information about the whereabouts of the Queen’s grandson, suggesting that he would be at Croydon Town Hall on Katharine Street at 7pm on Saturday. Security considerations and royal protocol usually mean that such information is not made public.
The Sadvertiser also earnestly reported that the banquet would be held in the Town Hall – even though Croydon Town Hall is rarely used for such functions. Certainly, the council had no such booking.
The event, according to the Sadvertiser, was being organised by a charity called Inspire 4 Change. Harry would be “the guest of honour at Inspire 4 Change’s annual banquet, which aims to raise money for the charity and raise its profile”, the report gushed.
A quick check on the Charity Commission website shows that there is no such charity.
The bogus banquet story appears to be sourced from Omar Sentamu, who is described as “chairman and founder of the charity” and who was quoted extensively by the so-called newspaper.
The Sadvertiser report also stated that Inspire 4 Change “was previously called Heal Our World Foundation until it changed its name in 2015”.
Even that detail is untrue.
According to the Charity Commission, there was an organisation called Heal Our World Foundation, but it ceased to exist in 2000 – 11 years before the Croydon riots which, according to the elaborate hoax which Sentamu had fed to the Sadvertiser, had led to the charity’s formation.
“We need to make sure these young people don’t fall off the rails and end up like we did,” Sentamu is supposed to have said to the newspaper. Presumably while keeping a straight face.
The newspaper also published a photograph of someone purporting to be Sentamu being all chummy with someone called Gavin Barwell.
Now, whatever happened to him..?
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