A PR professional who helped launch the Captain Tom Moore charity appeal has complained about being ‘cut out’ by the family and told not to speak about the work she had done.
Daisy Souster said she helped draft the press release announcing the veteran would be doing laps of his garden in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire to fundraise for NHS Charities Together. He would go on to raise more than £38million.
The 31-year-old also said she set up a Just Giving page and ran the Captain Tom Twitter page for the first couple of weeks when the story broke and quickly became a nationwide sensation.
But the University of Northampton graduate said her ‘amazing experience’ soured when she claims Hannah Ingram-Moore, Captain Tom’s daughter, froze her out.
She wrote in a LinkedIn post: ‘It was such a special time but I had to cut ties with the family when they cut me out and told me I was no longer able to talk about the work I had done.
‘I would like to make it very clear that initially the family were extremely supportive of me and thankful for all that I had done, but for reasons unknown to me, they changed.’ MailOnline has contacted Mrs Ingram-Moore for comment.
PR worker Daisy Souster (left) said she helped draft the press release announcing Captain Tom (right, with his daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore) would be doing laps of his garden
Mrs Ingram-Moore arrives at a planning hearing at Central Bedfordshire Council last week
Mrs Souster said she had been entered into five awards with the public relations trade magazine PRWeek and that at first the family were supportive.
But, she wrote, ‘A week later I was told by Hannah Ingram-Moore that I had no right to talk about my work/involvement with the PR’.
Haymarket PR, the publisher of PRWeek, told the BBC: ‘In 2020, Hannah Ingram-Moore stated to PRWeek that The Captain Tom Family and its representatives do not give permission for anyone to enter Captain Sir Tom to the PRWeek Awards.
‘Consequently, any submissions entered for Capt Sir Tom were removed.’
Mrs Souster continued: ‘I severed ties with the family after this. I had a young child at the time, a partner who was on furlough and we were in a national lockdown.
‘This change in attitude towards me caused me untold distress as I started to see my work accreditation taken away from me, and let’s be honest I’m unlikely to ever break a story like that again.
‘It was truly one of a kind – and it certainly should have remained a positive, incredible one at that.’
Mrs Souster said she originally worked for the Captain Tom campaign on a freelance basis before handing over to a PR agency when the story became too big to handle.
She added: ‘Captain Tom was a true beacon of hope during those dark times for all of us. It deeply saddens me that after such success the debacle unfolding is shadowing his sterling efforts.’
Weeks before Mrs Souster stopped working on the campaign in May 2020, Captain Tom revealed plans to release an autobiography.
Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day was published four months later and seemed to credit Hannah Ingram-Moore with the PR campaign.
‘After her years in business and running a company of her own, she knew exactly what to do. She [Hannah Ingram-Moore] wrote a press release and it was sent out locally,’ Captain Tom wrote.
Weeks before Mrs Souster stopped working on the campaign in May 2020, Captain Tom revealed plans to release an autobiography, Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day
The autobiography also credited her as having ‘quickly set up a JustGiving page’.
Earlier this month, Mrs Ingram-Moore confessed to pocketing £800,000 from her father’s three books.
She said her father wanted them to keep the profits from Captain Tom’s Life Lessons, One Hundred Steps and his autobiography Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day.
Speaking to Talk TV’s Piers Morgan, she said: ‘They were my father’s books, he wrote them and he decided what to do with the income from them – it was his wishes, not ours.
‘He made the decisions about the things that he did, we didn’t act for him.’
The family is also adamant that people buying the publications were never told their money was going to charity.
However, the prologue of his autobiography calls this claim into question and suggests the veteran thought his books were just another way for him to raise cash.
The extract read: ‘Astonishingly at my age, with the offer to write this memoir I have also been given the chance to raise even more money for the charitable foundation now established in my name.’
Mrs Ingram-Moore also broke her silence on the £85,000 salary she earned as interim CEO of the Captain Tom Foundation.
She received £7,602 in expense payments for travel and administration between June 2021 and November 2022.
She also admitted she was paid £18,000 for attending the Virgin Media O2 Captain Tom Foundation Connector Awards in 2021 – when already being paid as chief executive of the body.
The money was paid to her family firm, Maytrix Group, and she banked £16,000, donating just £2,000 to the Captain Tom Foundation.
Maytrix Group has already been pilloried for taking up to £100,000 in furlough cash and £47,500 in Covid loans during the pandemic.
This spa complex, built in the grounds of the home of Captain Tom’s daughter and husband, is at the centre of a planning row starting today after the local council said it was unauthorised
Mrs Ingram-Moore recently appeared on Talk TV with her husband, Colin, and their two children, Benji, 19, and Georgia , 14
The family also opened up about their regret over building a controversial spa and pool complex at their mansion – but confessed that they were nonetheless hoping to win an appeal to keep it.
At a hearing last week, Mrs Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin insisted the spa was for regular rehab sessions for local elderly people and not the family’s benefit.
The couple applied in 2021 for permission to build a Captain Tom Foundation Building in the grounds of their home in Marston Moretaine.
The L-shaped building was given the green light, but the planning authority refused a subsequent retrospective application in 2022 for a larger C-shaped building containing a spa pool.
Central Bedfordshire Council said in July that an enforcement notice requiring the demolition of the ‘now-unauthorised building’ was issued.
A Planning Inspectorate hearing today was told the pool – which was built without permission – would benefit local people. But the council insists that the C-shaped building was 49 per cent larger than what had been approved and must be demolished.
Speaking on behalf of the family, chartered surveyor James Paynter said: ‘The scheme evolved to include other parts.
‘As these discussions around the opportunities these buildings offered developed, it was felt that a large building could provide these extra facilities going forward.
‘The spa pool has the opportunity to offer rehabilitation sessions for elderly people in the local area. They want to offer one to one sessions on a once or twice a week basis.
‘It was felt the limb to create the C-shape [of the non-approved building, compared to the L-shape of the building that had planning permission] was needed for this facility.’
‘They cut me off’: Daisy Souster’s full statement on LinkedIn
I’ve been approached by numerous journalists over the last couple of years about my involvement in working with Captain Tom’s family at the beginning of what was one of the most memorable stories of this century so far.
The story was an incredible one. It was 100% organic, there was no PR plan and the Ingram Moore family, for whom I provided PR services to their company Maytrix, asked me to write a press release about an idea they had had during a family BBQ.
I wrote what was to become a life-changing press release for us all and sent it out. I also set the Just Giving page up and I also ran the Captain Tom Twitter page for the first couple of weeks when the story broke.
It was a truly amazing experience for me as I had only just come off maternity leave and set up as a freelance PR. It was such a special time but I had to cut ties with the family when they cut me out and told me I was no longer able to talk about the work I had done.
I would like to make it very clear that initially the family were extremely supportive of me and thankful for all that I had done, but for reasons unknown to me, they changed.
I had been contacted by a national PR awards organiser and was told they would like to put me forward for five awards. I told the family immediately and the family told me to go for it and would be on my table cheering me on.
A week later I was told by Hannah Ingram Moore that I had no right to talk about my work/involvement with the PR, even though a week before they said I should go for the PR awards for launching that first news story.
I severed ties with the family after this. I had a young child at the time, a partner who was on furlough and we were in a national lockdown. This change in attitude towards me caused me untold distress as I started to see my work accreditation taken away from me, and let’s be honest I’m unlikely to ever break a story like that again. It was truly one of a kind – and it certainly should have remained a positive, incredible one at that.
Just to clarify, I had no involvement with them or The Captain Tom Foundation shortly after Tom’s 100th birthday as the story had become so big that a freelance PR (myself) could no longer manage the unprecedented influx of press and I happily liaised with a PR agency for the handover.
Captain Tom was a true beacon of hope during those dark times for all of us. It deeply saddens me that after such success the debacle unfolding is shadowing his sterling efforts.
I had no intention of commenting about what they put me through and how they made me feel, but now that I am being approached constantly by the media, I am putting out this statement and will be making no further comment.