A FORMER funding chief at a tourist attraction managed by the Duchess of Northumberland is set to take on his ex-employer at a tribunal.
Philip Spencer, who until last year was director of development with The Alnwick Garden Trust, is set to claim he was a whistleblower who was made to suffer for revealing information during his employment.
His solicitors will also argue he was unfairly dismissed from the charity, headed by the Duchess of Northumberland.
The full details of the claim have not yet been made public but are due to be heard at an employment tribunal in Newcastle next week.
The trust said yesterday that its legal team will “strongly refute” the claims at the hearing, which is scheduled to last a week.
Mr Spencer, a 59-year-old father-of-three, was responsible for funding and future fundraising and was the driving force behind bringing the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food to Alnwick Garden in a bid to give the attraction a social purpose.
In June, the Oxford University-educated marketing guru became an Olympic Torch Bearer, carrying the torch through Alnwick.
Mr Spencer, who now lives in Guildford, Surrey, declined to comment on the details of his whistleblowing claim, but gave The Journal a short statement.
He said: “Essentially, my employment was terminated and I don’t think they went about it in the proper way, and I believe there to be important reasons behind it.
“It is an alleged redundancy but I don’t believe it was a redundancy, I believe it to be unfair dismissal.” Prior to Mr Spencer’s role with Alnwick Garden, which he took in August 2010, he had held marketing director positions with Natwest, World Vision Group and, for 13 years up until 1988, with global manufacturer Proctor and Gamble in the North East.
A spokeswoman for the Alnwick Garden Trust confirmed that Mr Spencer was employed as director of development but declined to comment on the proceedings further.
She said: “The Alnwick Garden Trust is strongly defending the proceedings but is unable to comment any further at this time pending the employment tribunal.”