herald

Thursday 23 October 2014

Lily Mae (4) cancer charity fears it won't get €27k from HMV

A CHARITY for cancer patient Lily Mae Morrison is owed €27,000 by HMV, it emerged today. Backers for the No 1 single ‘Tiny Dancer’ now fear that they may never see the money.







Lily Mae (4) is in isolation for the next seven weeks as part of her treatment for a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

Singers including Mundy, Paddy Casey and Mary Black, recorded a version of Elton John’s hit Tiny Dancer to raise vital funds. HMV distributed the single.

However, invoices for amounts totalling €27,000 sent to the troubled music store last week may not now be paid.

Administrators have been appointed to the retailer whose Grafton Street store (inset) was closed today.

“The chances of us being paid right now are pretty close to nil,” producer Stephen Macken said today.

“It is a blow to the charity. We put half a year of work into this. We are still hopeful that we may be able to sort something out,” Mr Macken said.

“We haven’t spoken to anyone within HMV yet because we can’t get anyone to talk to. The only people available are store managers and they can’t answer any questions.

“It’s give-or-take €27,000 that is owed. Luckily we didn’t put all our eggs in one basket, so it’s not everything raised from the single.

“We are hopeful that we may get our money back as we were set up as a trust.

“Judith is in isolation with Lily-Mae at the moment, so I haven't had a chance to talk to her, but I've spoken to her brother Paul and he says both Judith and Leighton are aware of what's happening.

“I'm sure they'll take it in their stride. It is disappointing, but it's not as important as Lily-Mae's health and that's what they are focusing on,” said Mr Macken.

The charity also made about €19,000 from iTunes and smaller amounts from fundraiser efforts.

HMV – which has outlets across the UK and Ireland and employs 300 people here – was placed into administration yesterday.

Now the charity fears it will not be paid money owed by HMV, and its alarm increased after branches in Ireland remained closed today.

Yesterday the company wouldn’t honour customer vouchers.

Half of the €27,000 was earmarked to go to Lily-Mae’s treatment while the remainder was being directed to other children’s charities.





Speaking to the Herald earlier today, Lily-Mae’s uncle, Paul Hayes, said they had sympathy for staff working in the Irish stores, but would like some clarification from HMV as to what was going to happen next.

“The Sunni Mae Trust and all of us would first like to empathise with the staff of HMV; what they’re going through is terrible.

“It has been suggested that the trust will be bottom of the pile in terms of creditors.

“But that infuriates me because we are talking about a little girl’s life here. And its important to say that half of the €27,000 is designated for other children with neuroblastoma.

“We’ve heard nothing from HMV and we are just desperate for clarification,” he said.

Mr Hayes went on to pay tribute to the staff and management of HMV stores in Ireland, saying that, without them, A Song For Lily Mae would never have been as successful as it was.



Payment

“The staff and management of the HMV stores in Ireland have been absolutely amazing throughout our campaign.

“They are looking at a very uncertain future and my heart goes out to them.”

A spokesperson for HMV told the Herald that they were unsure as to whether the money would be paid.

“Any payment would take longer than a week to process and would have to go through due process and natural process of these matters.

“I will have to check it out. I’d be fearful that people might jump to conclusions that people wouldn’t get paid when that may not be the case.”



hnews@herald.ie

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