A GOOD REPUTATION can take decades to earn but it can be lost in a couple of hours in a court room.

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey knows that only too well.

As chief executive of the Butterwick Hospice group he became a widely respected figurehead for the much-loved charity. But revelations that he splurged some of the Butterwick’s money on designer clothes, flashy trinkets, and nights in posh hotels has left his reputation in tatters.

The amounts which he defrauded from the charity were in the tens of thousands. In pure cash terms his crime was relatively modest when compared to some of the fraudsters we expose in this newspaper, but by diverting money away from a cancer charity which helps some of the mopst vulnerable people in our community to fund his own swish lifestyle Leggatt-Chidgey’s deception has rightly earned him widespread scorn.

More importantly it has earned him a four-year jail sentence.

White collar crime can often result in the handing down of lenient sentences but Judge Stephen Ashurst clearly took a dim view of Leggatt-Chidgey’s fraud, labelling him “a man in disgrace, the reputation you had in the community is now in ruins.”

Yesterday’s sentencing brought to end a case which destroyed one man’s reputation but threatened the future of Butterwick.

It is now time to draw a line under the matter and focus on the charity’s future.

It has taken decades for the Butterwick to build a reputation as one of the region’s most respected charities.

The services it provides are too important to let the actions of one dishonest man get in the way.

Please join the Echo in continuing to show it your support.