But hey, something nasty was looming on the horizon. Yes, it was unfortunately a man-made Marian dark cloud. It made its appearance at 3pm sharp.
This dark cloud was in fact a ‘meeting to discuss’ the wholly needless and it would now appear illegitimate, but likely reversible sale of Fawley Court. It was ‘orchestrated’ by Marian trustee-in-chief Pawel Naumowicz, (over from Warsaw to England on a very rare weekend visit), accompanied on the podium by his trustee henchman, and side-kick the hapless Wojciech Jasinski.
Things got off to a sorry start, if only because the meeting was poorly advertised, poorly signposted, and as if on purpose, its 3pm start clashed head-on with the Divine Mercy mass and service in St Anne’s Church. Pawel Naumowicz’s opening salvo, a sarcastic, inflammatory comment that he was expecting “thousands to attend” did not go down well at all. The twenty minute droning about the “removal” (or as many see it “ransacking”) of Fawley Court’s Father Jarzembowski Museum, served only to further inflame tempers.
From the outset, the gathering – set in the large sports hall by the wartime huts – was a raucous and nervous affair. The hall was packed with some three hundred, and more people, from all over the United Kingdom. By all accounts Pawel Naumowicz was displaying a pompous and insensitive air; deaf to both the general pleas to call off the sale, or indeed the individual noble pleading of Juliusz Englert who sought to stay matters for a year, until a proper financial solution and economic programme was instigated to put this unique monument and sanctuary on a sound footing.
(Fawley Court was in fact at this time solvent, with surplus cash fund! It seems however, that the current Marians having wilfully reduced Fawley Court, its beautiful building, museum, and grounds to a pitiful state, could then not stomach the notion of energetic business minded Poles,with sound ideas, ever resurrecting this special place).
Bozena Karol waved the Marian Trust’s accounts for 2006-2007 from the floor, demonstrating there was no need for the sale. Another, Hanna McCluskey asked whether the Vatican had given its written approval for a sale. Both quite legitimate enquiries were met with abject, dismissive and hollow responses.
Matters went from bad to worse, with the two Marian trustees “visibly shocked and shaken”
by the ominous dark deed they were hellbent on pursuing and vainly trying to enact, and sell to an unforgiving audience, its ire being tested to boiling point, with people shouting at the Marians, something hitherto unheard of.
Indeed it seemed that a lynching was on the cards when from the back of the hall a knight in shining armour emerged saying he was ready to buy Fawley Court, (in private for £7million), and all its ills would be resolved in a flash! A collective gasp, and then hush gripped the meeting. Well that’s it then. Fawley Court was being saved. The owner of the voice making this generous intervention was Jan Zylinski, son of the lawyer Mr Zylinski who had overseen Fawley Court’s acquisition from the Mackenzie’s in 1953/54. Sadly, the junior Jan Zylinski’s offer – one among a near hundred sound tenders made – was not taken up by the Marians…
The above debacle was filmed by TV Polonia, and others, it was tape recorded by many, and an excellent
letter from Maria Bourne describing the proceedings and the “heartless” Naumowicz was published in Nowy Czas.
The said debacle/meeting begs one very basic legal question. Where is the written Resolution from the Marian Trust to the Charity Commission outlining in clear terms its reasons for wanting to sell Fawley Court? And if indeed the Resolution exists, as it should, what was the Charity Commission’s response?
This Resolution is required by law, under the Charities Acts 1993 and 2006.
Given the level of protest – vocal and in writing – against the ‘sale’, many if not all of the three hundred and fifty present were all beneficiaries representing Polonia, in turn a body of people numbering tens if not hundreds of thousands of people with a legal, financial, and vested interests in the continued future of Fawley Court.
Given also the clearly controversial and as Private Eye puts it “murky” nature of the (temporary) Fawley Court disposal, (a paltry £13 million instead of a promised £22.5 million, for a priceless object !) there is every reason to demand sight of the Resolution from the Charity Commission under the Freedom of Information Act.
Under the CY-PRES DOCTRINE, and its original charitable objectives i.e. an educational, religious (Catholic) and cultural centre, Fawley Court had many donors – individual and institutional – who made substantial financial contributions to Fawley Court’s purchase and upkeep.
It just will not do for the Marian Trust or the Charity Commission to turn a contemptible blind eye, or deaf ear to the ignominious plight of Fawley Court, thinking that by ignoring or fobbing off Fawley Court’s beneficiaries and (recorded) donors that the issue will simply melt away. It won’t.
Those three hundred and fifty persons who bravely put up with Naumowicz’s and Jasinski’s risible nonsense at Fawley Court on Sunday 11th May 2008, should write forthwith to both the Marian Trust and the Charity Commission demanding sight of the legally required Resolution (from 2007/2008) under the Freedom of Information Act. Its absence could spell big trouble for them.
Meanwhile, the Marian Trust (No. 1075608) may think they’ve hit a lottery jackpot .They should think again.
Their trustees are hereby put on notice to place the said £13,000,000 (thirteen million pounds) on deposit in an interest bearing suspense account (Credit Suisse?), as the funds may well be required not only in reversing the Fawley Court ‘sale’, but also for other compensatory (legal) actions.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Re: FAWLEY COURT, HENLEY
This notice is directed to any parties who may consider that they have a beneficial interest in Fawley Court, Henley. They should note that the sale of the property by the Marian Fathers to the new owners may be defective and that any new
title may be vulnerable to challenge.
Patrick Streeter and Co,
1 Watermans End,
Essex CM17 ORQ
Tel: 01279 731 308
WE WILL TAKE BACK WHAT WAS FORCED FROM US
Since 2008 the amount of articles and letters regarding the sale of Fawley Court is impressive and could fill a book. The major Polish publications, Dziennik, Nowy Czas, Goniec, Cooltura, Tygodnik Mleczko, Panorama – all run reportage which begins with expressions of shock, feedback from the stormy meeting at Fawley Court, appeals to the Marians to reconsider, projects for saving the Sanctuary, arguments ranging from the worship of The Virgin Mary to considerations of ethical behaviour and abiding by the law. The list of writers includes donors and founders, representatives of Polish organisations in the UK, members of the Writers Association, and ordinary citizens who all, without exception, oppose the sale.
In late 2009, Nowy Czas begins a regular page featuring material from Divine Mercy College old boys, teachers and former administrators. It becomes known as the FCOB page, as by then, public debate has fallen on deaf ears and the sale is going ahead. The FCOB explores avenues of preventing the sale and compiles evidence and archives, joining other groups in their various battles – against the “Belsen” gate, the exhumation, the abrogation of the rights of way, and also campaigns with government agencies such as the Charity Commission to stop the sale.
After Fawley Court is sold, it is the FCOB that continues to fight and publish. The Land Registry is put on notice of defective title; despite this they register the sale. More recently, the Charity Commission has been put on notice of negligence.
The recently published evidence of sale of Museum artefacts in 1985 points to the sale project having been put in place a long time ago and not, as is generally supposed, in 2007.
In December1985 items from the Museum and from Fawley Court were auctioned at Christies. A number of items were sold, raising approximately £35 000, of these a statue of a Greek Goddess, which was sold for £14 000, about half of its reserve price. Of the major items not sold, the Fallen Giant is still missing but the Commodus, beloved by Father Jarzembowski, was sold in 2005 for over £105 000 by a private collector – a matter still under investigation.
However it is not the details of the sale that are important, but the sequence of events. It was in 1985 that Divine Mercy College was registered with the land Registry for the first time. This was followed by the sale of Museum artefacts. In early January 1986, The Rev W. Gurgul was appointed as a new trustee, with a special deed which included a sale clause. Shortly afterwards, the School is closed down, just before
GCE exams. The FCOB believe that these events point to the preparations for an eventual sale being put in place at that time.
NOTHING IS AS POWERFUL
AS AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME
We call for reversal of “sale” and a public inquiry. We intend to restore Fawley Court as a Roman Catholic spiritual and educational centre for the Anglo-Polish UK Community, in accordance with the wishes of the Founder and Donors.
FCOB has put the Marians and their associates on notice of legal action. Proceedings are expected to start in the New Year. If you have donated for a specific purpose and are dissatisfied, please contact us.
Documents and other names of donors are needed, contact email@example.com. We are preparing a website for the New Year. We will publish other Donors lists who contributed for a specific purpose, such as the purchase, or development of the School, or the later Apostolate Building, which was never built.