Special Note by Mary Young

It is necessary for me to add to the statement below, which was made in August.

Firstly, I reiterate that I took over my father’s contract for this website, and I will maintain it for as long as I consider necessary.

For legal reasons, full details of the very sad situation which has occurred since my father’s death, and which is impacting on so many, cannot be revealed at present; some can, and should be revealed.

From comments which continue to be made by trustees of the UK charity, (the former Friends of the William Stewart Centre, now re-named Changing Lives Malawi) and by Levison Mlambya, on social media and in e mails, it is clear that I must reveal as much of the truth of my alleged retirement/resignation as I am able.

For instance, just one of the many email comments reads: ‘the social media smear campaign conducted by one of the beneficiaries and more appallingly the attempt to destroy the Foundation…’.

As the former Administrator of the Foundation, I will continue to put the record straight - for me; for my family; for those supporters and sponsors who were there from the very start and have been blocked and banned also; for those sponsors who have been so badly treated that they are no longer able to sponsor.

As can be seen from my original statement, when the executors and their advisers started to gather in documentation relating to my father’s affairs, it became apparent that he had given an extraordinary sum of money to the Foundation, and to Levison as a ‘stipend’ – far more than what even I had envisaged. Furthermore, he had very little left.

My father was a very private man regarding money matters. However, as he himself said many times, we all, my mother, and my siblings, sacrificed much, individually and as a family unit, so that he could progress. He had grown up in poverty himself and was always determined never to be in poverty again. It was therefore extremely disturbing to his family that he had left himself with so little cash.

When it became clear that the recently amended Will resulted in inequity for his children, given the £50,000 already sent to Levison; the little cash left, and the substantial difference in the cost of living between Malawi and the UK, the family took legal advice as to the best way of proceeding, to try to ensure fairness for all parties.

A deed of variation was selected as the best and most obvious choice, rather than court action. Against legal and family advice, I decided to write to Levison, to explain the situation – he had always professed to care for not only my father, but my father’s whole family and so I thought he would understand the dilemma of the family. I did not want him to receive a lawyer’s letter out of the blue. I was his true champion, his Nasenje, his friend – so the task had to be mine.

With hindsight, I was clearly wrong not to heed the advice, because Levison took the matter to the trustees of the Foundation and to the UK feeder charity trustees and three weeks later, I was retired.

I have been accused, on record, that I pressured Levison to accept a deed of variation. That is totally untrue. I merely stressed the necessity of answering promptly to ensure that he would receive the greatly increased amount which I had demanded and secured from my siblings. I could have taken no other line with the Foundation at my heart.

However, I am being portrayed as the ringleader of something untoward. Comments have repeatedly been made by the UK charity trustees, using the expression ‘Team Mary’ – and portraying me as the beneficiary who was out to smear Levison and destroy the very Foundation which I had worked so hard to raise over four years from a single Facebook page.

I will now publicly put this nonsense right. I have all the e mails and all the screenshots, and I can prove my assertions. I would like to know why none of the trustees of either charity bothered to learn the facts, and why they were so keen to leap to such false conclusions and put me in the frame. Only they can answer those questions.

Regarding the executors, I must point out that they didn’t ask for this job; they didn’t know that they would be given the complicated and onerous task which so far has taken all year, and that they would now find themselves embroiled in matters concerning the Foundation.

The Principal Executor recently received a communication from Paul Holst regarding my statement on this website. The communication threatened to bring in Barclays Bank’s legal team regarding the alleged ‘repeated libellous commentary’.

Firstly, this website is nothing to do with the executors; secondly, they have previously had no knowledge of or interest in the Foundation; thirdly, there is nothing libellous in the statement I have made; fourthly, I have been advised myself to consider taking legal action.

The executors and their advisers are investigating the only set of Foundation accounts which were sent to my father. That is all I am permitted to say on the matter. Over the last year, the executors have asked three times, politely and with great care, for all the accounts to be sent to the executors in order that they can fulfil their fiduciary duties. Three times they have been denied, in e mails signed by Levison. I had previously asked for the accounts earlier in the year so that the executors could begin to fulfil their duties.

My father described the Foundation as an oak tree growing from the tiny acorn which was planted in early 2017 – that such a tremendous initiative should have developed such a sickening canker is truly heart-breaking for so many.

The August statement

The Foundation website was written by Mary Young and paid for by William Stewart. On William’s death, the website contract was taken over by Mary.

In her August Newsletter, Mary said ‘I will, however, keep the website intact for as long as is sensible ...’

The website was a great record of four years of growth of the NGO, but it has been prudent to reduce it to simply that last Newsletter which will remain for the meantime to highlight that the following will be dealt with:

  1. Highlighting a true account of the ‘benching’ of Mary;
  2. The truth behind the breakdown of the relationship between Mary and Levison;
  3. Consideration of action to be taken against SCIO, Levison and/or the Foundation trustees after, but not limited to:
    1. Their refusal to answer questions raised by Mary and sponsors about the conduct of SCIO and/or Levison;
    2. Refusal to accept sponsor money, arguably to ensure that sponsors are not entitled to information;
    3. Blocking sponsors and/or anyone who has asked questions about points a and b above on the SCIO and Foundation facebook pages;
    4. Sponsors and donors received messages and social media comment from Paul Holst, trustee but, most importantly, VP of Barclays Wealth that were felt to be inappropriate and threatening after they were blocked from voicing their opinions about matters;
    5. Levison’s inappropriate questioning of a pensioner sponsor about the source of her money etc...
  4. Concerns raised by William’s executors about his actions given that, upon his death, it transpired that nearly all his life savings had been sent to Levison within 4 years;
  5. Concerns raised by William’s family about why William changed his will suddenly in mid 2020, leaving a further quarter of his remaining estate to Levison ‘personally’;
  6. Perceived intimidation of the executor of William’s estate by Paul Holst, trustee of SCIO and VP of Barclays Wealth, after he sought to compromise Levison’s share amidst serious concerns about Levison’s accounting in respect of over £50,000 of William’s life savings.